Exclusive Excerpts from Death at Beggar's Knob

We end the week (or start if you want to be technical) with exclusive excerpts from Death at Beggar's Knob! Below find 13 different passages from the newest John and Mary Braemhor mystery! 


"One of several  smaller professional organizations of audiologists in the UK. They had some trouble at their last meeting. One of heir members in the upper administrative echelon of the group—a Dr. Jason Logan—was supposed to speak at a breakfast meeting one morning, but never showed up. When some of his colleagues went searching for him, they found his room open and him dead in his bath.”

            “Drowned? Heart attack?” John quickly asked.

            “We’re not sure yet. He practiced here in Melrose. Both he and his wife attended the     meeting, but she disappeared the night before.”

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"The shop was a treasure of amulets, tarot cards and other paraphernalia. The strong smell of incense filled the room. One corner held a library of books on the occult, black magic, spell casting and breaking, and how to hypnotize. There were several books on fairies and fairy circles which Mary was perusing when a breathy, raspy voice from behind the shadow-hidden main counter broke the silence.  “Can I help you?” Startled, both John and Mary turned to see an extremely tall—he must have been over six and a half feet—gaunt man with parchment-colored skin and bushy, thick eyebrows overhanging his black eyes which seemed to grip whatever they focused upon with a vice-like tenacity. He was attired in a white collarless shirt beneath a black jacket with gold trim. His black pants were as tight as an onion skin and sported a gold stripe down the outside seams. His hands—also parchment-like—were graced with excessively long fingers, each adorned with unusually long and tapered nails. In short, he looked like something out of Dante."

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"Have the fairies been active?” John asked with a smile and a faint hint of sarcasm. Mary frowned at him and shook her head slightly.

            “More than that! They’ve been having a festival.” Rita was as pleased as a child with a large piece of candy.

            “A festival, you say? Did you see them dancing or whatever they do?” John asked, trying to sound serious.

            “Oh, no, no one sees the fairies unless you go into their circle, but I heard them.”

            “Musical, was it?”

            “No, not really musical. More like a low undulating hum. Rhythmic.”

            “They play a tune, do they?”

"No, not really. More like a contrapuntal bass to a treble melody. Only there's no melody.... reminded me of Ravel's 'Bolero.' You fee it more than you hear it. Sometimes it even vibrates the floor-- rhythmically."

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"John ran quickly across the road and grabbed the shotgun that Morgan had leaned against the BMW while he was closing the boot. Morgan was so taken aback at the unexpected appearance of Braemhor, all he could say was, “Braemhor!”

            “One word, one noise and you’ll never see the light of day.” Braemhor pointed the shotgun at Morgan’s face.

            Morgan threw up his hands. A look of abject horror covered his face as Braemhor motioned him to move toward the hawthorns."

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"John slowly pushed the door open with a handkerchief around his hand. Stanley was fascinated to watch this seasoned investiator at work. . . . Stanley had had about enough cloak and dagger. . .on campus. But he quietly acquiesced and followed John into the living room. Mary followed both of them.

            Living room, empty. Bedroom, empty.

            Stanley started into the bath. “Oh, my god!!” he shouted and backed out of the bathroom door, almost knocking over Mary. She grabbed his arm and a good thing, too, for Stanley had gone faint. Fortunately, Mary was able to guide him to the edge of the bed which kept him from falling all the way to the floor.

John, who, by this time, had entered the bathroom, turned quickly to Mary, still supporting Stanley on the end of the bed. "It's not pretty," he exclaimed."

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"Charlie MacLaine was standing with the group of students, but as soon as he could he approached John, continuing in his role as a curious student, and asked, “What’s going on, sir?”

            John looked away from Charlie and muttered so the crowd could not hear his response, “Gorski. Dead. Blow to the head. Wrists slit.” He then quickly moved back to where Mary stood with Chief Phillips, who was talking with the state officers.

"Damn!!" MacLaine exclaimed, then took out his mobile and placed a call."

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"According to the story in the Telegraph, several people had vanished over the past few months. All had been working in their gardens when last seen. One women reported that her husband had been hoeing beneath one of their hawthorn trees when she thought she thought she heard faint sounds of revelry, even the strumming of a stringed instrument. When she went outside to see what the noise was, he was gone. And so was his hoe."

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  “It’s the fairies,” announced Aunt Rita, Mary’s eccentric maiden aunt. Her white hair was tied in a bun on the back of her head and she wore that impish smile she was noted for in the family.

            John [Braemhor] turned to her. “The what?” he quiered. “You’re not serious, Rita, are you?”

            “Of course I am. Don’t you know that the fairies form their circles under hawthorn trees and lure some unsuspecting person into their circle? An then the person disappears.”

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"The first [disappearance] was up near Cein. Flora Fraser, about two months ago. She lived with her maiden sister, Lily, on a hillside just outside the village. They operated a B&B on land that had come down through the family. They had noticed a series of fairy circles around their small grove of apple trees this year and one day Flora had gone out to investigate the fungal growths. . . . Lily was watching her sister from the front parlor window, but had to turn away for a moment when the postman rang. When she turned back, Flora had disappeared.

            “Disappeared?” Mary asked.

            “Yes, she said it was as if the ground had swallowed her up. One moment she was there. The next, she was gone. Lily went running out, but her sister was nowhere to be seen, just a slight, wet indentation in the fairy circle.”

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"Edwards arrived a few minutes ahead of lecture time and shuffled and arranged his note papers on the lectern to the audience’s left. He was of medium height and slender in weight. His brown hair cascaded over his left eye, giving him a more boyish look than one would expect for an American professor. His dress was casual—tweed pants, an open-collared, button-down shirt and a grey cardigan with leather elbow patches. He looked up at precisely half past seven and began."

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“I think you said ‘time distortion.’ What exactly is that?”

            “Something all of us experience on a daily basis. Time distortion happens to all of us. Think about a time when you were doing something that you find very fascinating and interesting. It seems like you have only been at it for a very short time but actually much more time has passed than you think.

            “That’s one form of naturally occurring  time distortion. But now think of the opposite, a time when you’re doing something very boring, or something you want to finish so that you can move on to something else you’re really looking forward to.”

            “And time seems to drag on and on and on.” Mary concluded.

            “Right. Those are the two forms of natural time distortion in which subjective time—time as you experience it—does not seem to match world or clock time.”

            “So through hypnosis you can have the subject have a distorted experience of time?”

            “Precisely.”

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“My main focus right now is a series of house burglaries across the area. Three of them in your area to be specific, one in Lanark and the others in Peebles. The one in Lanark is particularly vexing, since it involves a large landed estate—the Bunarts. The other two sites are in very rich, but not landed, homes. In all cases, the thief, or thieves, knew right where to go. Nothing else disturbed. No household belongings strewn about like they were searching for valuables. Like I said, they seemed to know right where the valuables were."

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"At his side stood a diminutive woman of equal age, with an equally ruddy countenance. She, too, had spent a good deal of time outdoors riding to the hounds and playing other outdoor sports as lent themselves to the female side of the family. Whereas Sir William projected the image of a relaxed, not easily flustered lord of the manor, she seemed more high-strung. Even at an initial glance, she appeared a tight wire ready to respond with high anxiety energy to any and everything."

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Thanks Owen for providing these exciting excerpts for us! If you've been captivated by these excerpts (which you should be!) and want to read the entire thing buy Death at Beggar's Knob here at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1939816610/?tag=cocapr-20