Murder in Little Shendon by A.H. Richardson
ISBN: 9781515283973 (paperback)
ASIN: B014T5QFTG (Kindle edition)
Publication Date: August 28, 2015
Read an excerpt
A Killing in The Bygone Era
BARTHOLOMEW FYNCHE LEANED OVER HIS DESK, adjusted his pince-nez and peered down at the document on his desk. He gave a series of grunts, which culminated in a long “Hmmm”.
He scratched a brief note on the pad in front of him. He always used a pen and ink because he did not approve of ballpoint pens and regarded them as signs of an uncivilized society.
Mr. Fynche turned his attention to the small jade horse in front of him, running his fingers over it gently, almost lovingly. He frowned, took a deep breath, and removed a key from around his neck. He unlocked a drawer to his desk, placed the small statue inside and carefully locked it again.
He glanced at the French Ormolu clock on the wall before consulting his watch, and pursed his lips together in annoyance. He didn’t like people who were not punctual. Time was money, and his time was particularly precious.
The retired Mr. B. Fynche had been involved in a number of most interesting exploits in his life, not the least of which involved his extraordinary knowledge of rare documents, famous objets d’art, and rare paintings. It was rumored that he had been involved with MI5 just after the war, but no one was quite certain about this. Nowadays he puttered fairly contentedly in his antique shop, which he had named The Bygone Era.
He did the occasional appraisal for some local villagers and was occasionally persuaded to go into London (a trip he detested) to authenticate something or other for the odd client he had. He was, as far as anyone knew, unmarried, quite without family, with the exception of a sister who was rumored to live in New Zealand and a brother who was deceased.
At first glance, Fynche’s little shop seemed to be an untidy mass of bric-a- brac, consisting of small statues, framed documents, interesting looking things in glass cases, paintings of all descriptions, prints, watches, chains and… much much more. Mr. Fynche however, knew exactly where everything was, referring to it on occasion as organized clutter.
Today was Thursday, better known as early closing day when most if not all the shops in the village closed about noon, and The Bygone Era was no exception. Fynche liked to lock the doors, put up the CLOSED sign and busy himself with his latest project, and he had many of those.
The little man glanced down once again at some notes he had made. For the first time in his life, he was not quite sure how to deal with this. Probably the best policy was to be frank and explain that this was not something with which he chose to be involved. He scratched the back of his head thoughtfully. Perhaps no mention of the police should be made at this juncture, for he felt instinctively that he would have to be careful here.
A knock on the door interrupted his reverie and Fynche’s eyes again darted up to the clock. He frowned, realizing that the knock was coming from the back door, which was rarely used.
Thoroughly disgruntled, the old man unlatched the door.
“Come in,” he said curtly, “and see that you close the door behind you.” He paused, then growled in a surly manner, “You’re late; we need to talk.”
“I’m sorry. There was some work left to do,” answered the other. A breeze blew through the open window behind Fynche’s desk.
“Close the window, please. That wretched cleaning woman always leaves the window open, and it blows my papers all around.”
“Very well.” His visitor closed the window obediently.
“Come around to the front, where I can see you. Something quite interesting has come up and we need to talk. Clearly, decisions have to be made here. Did you hear me…?”
Fynche made a half-turn, threw up his hands defensively, and gave a smothered cry, but it was too late. The broad brass base of an Edwardian candle holder was wielded aloft and came crashing down with a sickening thud into Mr. Fynche’s skull. Blood flew everywhere, seeping into the dark wood of the desk and into some papers and puddling on to the floor.
Mr. Bartholomew Fynche, open-mouthed and eyes glazed, his hands futilely clutching at the air, slumped over the side of his chair and onto the floor…very very dead.
The visitor spent a moment or two looking around the cluttered shop, hunting for something, but then thought better of it. With a sudden gesture, the visitor pried a large gold ring from Mr. Fynche’s finger, hastily made the decision to leave and, used The Bygone Era’s back door as the avenue of escape. The door was closed quietly, and the visitor slipped out noiselessly into the anonymity of the bustling throng of last-minute shoppers in the High Street. It was a bright sunny day in late spring.
Meet the author
She published her debut novel Jorie and the Magic Stones in December 2014. At the request of those who loved the first ‘Jorie’ story, Richardson has written a sequel titled Jorie and the Gold Key, and she is currently working on the third book in the series.
In addition to children’s books, she also enjoys writing murder mysteries. She is the author of Murder in Little Shendon, a thriller murder mystery which takes place in a quaint little village in England after World War Two, and introduces two sleuths, Sir Victor Hazlitt and his sidekick, Beresford Brandon, a noted Shakespearian actor. And she has more ‘who-dun-its’ with this clever and interesting duo… Act One, Scene One– Murder and Murder at Serenity Farm.
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