Book 11 in the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries is coming soon! (Jan 2022, to be precise! 😉 )
And while the manuscript is currently doing the rounds with my beta reader team, editor and proofreaders… here are some exclusive previews from the first draft of the story!
(* please excuse any mistakes & typos as these are taken from the unedited manuscript)
Sneak Peek 1
Sneak Peek 2
“How nice.” The woman’s smile didn’t reach her eyes. “Ah… I see that you ordered the Grand Opening special,” she said smugly, eyeing the cake stand on the Old Biddies’ table. She turned to me. “Don’t you think our scones are the best you’ve ever tasted?”
The woman looked taken aback. “Really?”
Sneak Peek 3
I only paid cursory attention when a young man, who was obviously a detective constable despite his attempts to blend in, came into the tearoom and skulked over to a table in the corner. I didn’t recognise him from my occasional visits to see Devlin at the police station and I guessed that he must have been one of the latest new recruits to Oxfordshire CID. I almost felt sorry for him as I watched him look around in dismay. Sitting in a quaint Cotswolds tearoom, drinking endless cups of English Breakfast, probably didn’t fit the image of high danger and excitement that had motivated him to join the CID!
Then the Old Biddies caught sight of him and I winced in real sympathy. The nosy foursome had been busy gossiping since arriving at their usual table by the window an hour earlier, but now, having exhausted the topics of the postman’s hernia, the butcher’s new wife, Mrs Heineman’s missing toilet brush and the Lord Mayor of Oxford’s strange moustache, they were casting around for new diversions. I saw their eyes light up as they noticed the young detective constable at the nearby table and they pounced on him with glee.
“Hello, young man,” Mabel Cooke boomed. “You look a bit lonely sitting there by yourself. Are you having morning tea alone?”
“Perhaps you’re waiting for your girlfriend to join you?” asked Ethel Webb.
“No… uh… I’m workin—I mean, I don’t have a young lady,” amended the young DC hastily, throwing a wary glance in my direction.
“You don’t have a young lady?” said Glenda Bailey, appalled. “But why ever not? A handsome young chap like you…”
“Well, you’re never going to impress a lady if you order like that,” said Florence Doyle, looking doubtfully at the solitary cup of tea on the table in front of him. “Girls like a man who is generous when taking them out. Being stingy is so unattractive.”
“I hope you’re not one of those young people who follow that dreadful modern practice of ‘going Danish’,” said Mabel, glowering at him. “Splitting the bill in half—whoever heard of such a thing? A gentleman always pays for the meal.”
“It’s Dutch, Mabel, not Danish,” remonstrated Ethel.
“What—the Dutch men do it too?” said Mabel, scandalised.
“I once went out with a Dutch gentleman,” said Glenda with a dreamy sigh. “He had a wonderful moustache. And such sensitive hands. He didn’t pay for the meal, though.”
Florence turned to the bewildered DC. “You’re not Dutch or Danish, are you?”
The young man shook his head nervously. “What about your hands? Are they sensitive?” Ethel persisted.
“Never mind his hands,” said Mabel, impatiently. “How are your bowels?” she asked the young constable.
He gulped. “M-my bowels?”
“Yes, I hope you go regularly, young man. Healthy digestion is very important to male virility. You’ll never get a girl if you don’t eat enough fibre. Men who have problems with their bowels have higher rates of erectile dysfunction, you know.”
“Mabel! Don’t scare the poor boy,” chided Glenda. “I’m sure at his age, he has no problems getting his willy up.”
The DC sprang to his feet, nearly knocking his chair over. “I… uh… I have to go!”
(sneak peeks from first draft of Wrongfully Infused: Oxford Tearoom Mystery Book 11 – coming Jan 2022!)