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The Moonlit Murders

A historical mystery page-turner

Fliss Chester


Books by Fliss Chester

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43


A Dangerous Goodbye

Hear More from Fliss Chester

A Letter from Fliss Chester

Books by Fliss Chester

Night Train to Paris


Books by Fliss Chester

The Fen Churche Mysteries

A Dangerous Goodbye

Night Train to Paris

Moonlit Murders

The French Escapes Romance Series

Love in the Snow

Summer at the Vineyard

Meet Me on the Riviera

Available in Audio

A Dangerous Goodbye (Available in the UK and the US)

Night Train to Paris (Available in the UK and the US)

‘Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,

For those in peril on the sea!’

—William Whiting, 1860


Paris, November 1945

Dear Mrs B, Kitty and Dil,

It’s time to come home. Dashing this off to you as we wait at the French Line company’s offices, trying to book passage. The ships leaving Le Havre are all so full of troops being repatriated that it’s hard to find cabins, though there is a very smart-looking one leaving in a few days and fingers crossed we’ll get on it. James says he’s going first class; I don’t think my purse quite stretches that far, sadly, but I’m so happy to be heading home I don’t mind if I’m bunking with the boiler men!

After what’s happened recently, I’m feeling quite ready for a cocoa and chinwag over the kitchen table with you both – although James seems restless and in need of another adventure. I’ll bring him to the farmhouse to meet you when we’re home, which should be—

‘Numéro vingt-deux!’

Fen stopped writing and looked up as the cashier called out her ticket number. She had been scribbling away while sitting in the rather gracious, wood-panelled waiting room of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, or the French Line as it was more popularly known, as she and her friend Captain James Lancaster patiently waited for their turn with the booking clerk.

Fenella Churche, Fen to her friends, was on her way back to England, having travelled across northern France to find out what had happened to her fiancé in the war. Late fiancé… her grief at Arthur’s death caught her unawares at times, knocking the breath out of her while she gradually brought herself back to the here and now.

‘Mademoiselle Fenella Churche?’ the cashier called out again, and James nudged her in the ribs as she put the cap back on her pen and pushed her writing paper into her handbag. She got up, smoothed down her woollen skirt and approached the desk.


The lady behind the counter peered at her over the top of her pince-nez glasses. Her short hair was styled into tight, glossy curls and her regulation company blouse was buttoned up high to the pie-crust collar. Fen wondered how she must appear to this tightly curled and highly polished woman, her own chestnut hair being much less well-kempt, bursting out of the hastily curled victory rolls she’d pinned in that morning.

Fen wasn’t a naturally messy person, far from it, she was usually the first to be seen checking that her lipstick was just so and her hem straight, but weeks away from home with a limited wardrobe, save for farming clothes and hand-me-downs, had left her less polished than she would have liked.

‘Fenella Churche,’ the lady spoke again, once Fen was seated in front of her. Another cashier called out the next number and Fen saw from the corner of her eye James sit himself down at a neighbouring desk.

‘Yes, that’s right. Fenella, F-e-n—’ Thanks to her youth spent in Paris, Fen was able to speak in perfectly fluent French to the cashier, who was having trouble with her very British name.

‘F-e-n,’ Miss Pince-nez, as Fen had decided to call the cashier, looked up at her over her small glasses. ‘Fen Churche, like the London station? Fenchurch Street?’

Fen took a deep breath and was about to speak, but decided a simple nod would do. She had lost count of the number of times people, strangers, had made that connection and she often wondered if her parents had really thought through the implication of naming her after her great-aunt on her mother’s side, however interesting a lady she had been.

‘Documents please, Mademoiselle Churche,’ Miss Pince-nez demanded, not even looking up at Fen any more.

Fen placed her passport in the woman’s outstretched hand obediently.

‘We have a few options left within your budget, but the De Grasse is very popular.’ Miss Pince-nez made her point by raising her eyes and sweeping them across the busy waiting room.

‘I quite understand, I think I’ll take this one, please.’ Fen pointed at a line on the sheet of paper in front of her – the line that stated the price of a second-class cabin.

‘Very well, second class, full board, Le Havre to Southampton,’ Miss Pince-nez confirmed and printed in the appropriate details on the booking form before stamping it with the French Line’s official rubber stamp. ‘The De Grasse will be operating a slightly different tiered system to the usual, in that first and second class will be sharing dining rooms.’ Miss Pince-nez looked as if the admission of this pained her in some way and she touched the curls nearest her forehead as she spoke, as if to comfort herself before she carried on. ‘The lower decks, third class and steerage, are mostly full of soldiers, just so you know.’

Fen nodded and signed the form that Miss Pince-nez pushed towards her. At the bottom was the amount in francs that she needed to pay. Fen produced enough money to cover her ticket and handed it over, noticing as she did so that James seemed to be handing over considerably more at the desk next door. Although she couldn’t hear

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