#Extract – The Invisible Case by Isabella Muir @SussexMysteries @rararesources
On my blog today, for one day only is Isabelle Muir.
First before our guest post… let us check out the book and cover!
A shocking death turns a homecoming into a nightmare.
It’s Easter 1970 in the seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, and for one family the first Easter of a new decade brings a shocking tragedy. Amateur sleuth and professional librarian, Janie Juke, is settling into motherhood and looking forward to spending time with her family. When her Aunt Jessica is due back from Rome after nine years travelling around Europe, she arrives back in town with a new Italian friend, Luigi, and the whole family soon get embroiled in a tangle of mystery and suspicion, with death and passion at the heart of the story.
As time runs out on Luigi as prime suspect for murder, Janie has to use all of her powers of deduction in the footsteps of her hero, Hercule Poirot, to uncover the facts. Why did Luigi come to Tamarisk Bay? What is the truth about his family? As Luigi’s story unfolds, tragedy seems to haunt the past, present and unless Janie acts fast, possibly what is yet to come.
References to Poirot! I am in!!
This book is third in the series and is out now!
It’s Easter 1970 and Janie Juke is looking forward to her aunt’s homecoming. Jessica has been travelling around Europe for the last nine years and is now returning to Tamarisk Bay from Italy, with a friend in tow. She arrives at her brother’s house and is welcomed by an effusive niece. While the family enjoy their catch up they forget that there is a stranger in their midst who is not at ease…
‘You must think us very rude,’ Philip said. ‘We’ve been chattering away and we haven’t even asked you how your journey was. When did you set off?’
Philip wasn’t able to see the shift in Luigi’s expression as Jessica spoke. ‘We had an unfortunate mishap during our journey.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that.’
‘Oh, it was something and nothing. I only mention it in case the railway police contact you.’
‘The police?’ Philip returned his coffee cup to the table.
‘Somewhere on the train journey between Rome and Paris, Luigi lost his briefcase,’ Jessica continued. ‘We’re hoping the railway police will retrieve it. And if they do, or rather when they do, we’ve given them this address. I hope you don’t mind?’
‘It didn’t go missing, it was stolen.’ Luigi’s stern voice and even sterner expression seemed to be directed entirely at Jessica. ‘There was a family who shared our carriage, they must have stolen it. The police have been unhelpful. They did not appreciate the seriousness.’
Jessica fiddled with the buttons on her cardigan, avoiding her friend’s gaze. ‘Come on, Luigi, we’ve been over this so many times. You don’t know if it was that family and if it was then it would have been a misunderstanding.’
Although Philip couldn’t see the glances being exchanged, he could sense the atmosphere, which had become decidedly chilled. ‘I’m sure it will turn up and if it doesn’t, you can always give Janie the challenge of tracking it down,’ he said, trying to lighten the mood.
‘Now you’ve got me intrigued,’ Jessica said, grateful for the change of subject.
‘You’d best explain, princess. Otherwise your aunt will be imagining all sorts.’
‘Okay, well the thing is, I’ve got a little sideline going.’
‘Sounds like something a spiv would say in the war.’ Jessica raised an eyebrow.
‘I stumbled into it really…’
‘Let me guess, it’s to do with your passion for Agatha Christie.’
‘How did you guess?’
‘Let’s just say I got to know my favourite niece pretty well over the years I watched you grow up.’
‘Your only niece, you mean?’
‘When I moved in you were five going on fifteen and when I moved out, well, you knew your own mind, even then. I remember all those times when you had your head stuck in an Agatha Christie book every time it was your turn to do the drying up.’
‘It was always my turn,’ Janie said, laughing.
‘So am I right?’
‘Pretty much, yes. I fell into it for one reason or another, but it turns out I’m good enough for someone to pay me for my trouble. Enough to treat Michelle to her beautiful Silver Cross pram.’
‘We’re talking private investigator?’
‘Sort of. Although that sounds very official. More like a busybody on a mission. And yes, you’re right. Agatha Christie is wholly to blame. In fact, Poirot more specifically.’
‘What do you think of it all, Phil? I’m assuming Janie gave it all up when she was pregnant?’ Jessica said, looking over at Michelle who had started to make grumbling noises that could easily have been mistaken for the cries of a kitten.
‘Not a bit of it,’ Philip said.
‘So, I’ll warn you,’ Janie said, ‘I can sniff out a mystery at ten paces, all I need is a hint.’
‘Well, there are no hints forthcoming. At least not today,’ Jessica said, passing Michelle back to Janie. ‘Back you go to your mum, little one. I’m going to pop up and change, I’ve been in these clothes for forever. I’ll leave you three to get to know each other.’
Luigi took the cigarettes from his jacket pocket and pulled out a miniature lighter that was tucked inside the packet. He looked over at Janie before lighting it. She got up and moved an ashtray from the sideboard, putting it on the table in front of him.
‘We know a little of Jessica’s travels, from her letters and postcards, but I get the sense her time in Italy has been special,’ Philip said.
‘There is nothing quite like Italian hospitality, but perhaps I am a little biased. It’s a country that tugs at you, it’s hard to leave, but I’m sure you know your sister is not a person to stay still for long.’
‘She’s been like that since a child. Always ready for the next adventure, short attention span. We were lucky she stayed with us for as long as she did. More than lucky, eternally grateful in truth.’
‘Your accident must have been hard for you and for your daughter.’
Philip smiled, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, that’s what they say, isn’t it? And I have Charlie here, to keep me in check.’
‘And you, Mr Chandler? Have you travelled much?’ There was nothing peaceful about the way Luigi smoked his cigarette, his face tensing with each breath.
‘Please, call me Philip. The war took me overseas, but I don’t count that as travelling. When Janie was a toddler we confined ourselves to days out and the occasional camping trip. When you live by the seaside every day can be a holiday. What about you, Luigi? Are you a city dweller?’
‘I grew up in Anzio. It’s where I met your sister. Jessica said you were there during the war.’
Philip stretched his hand down to stroke Charlie. ‘My memories of Anzio are not all happy ones. The war destroyed many lives, and I don’t just mean those who died. I try not to think about it too much these days. But I’m sure your hometown is a much happier place now.’
Janie watched her dad speaking, a dark shadow crossing his face as he spoke of the past. Luigi reached the end of his cigarette and stubbed it out in the ashtray. ‘If you will excuse me, it’s my turn to get changed. Which is my room?’
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