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Introduction

This book is the last part of the trilogy titled Birds of a Feather, a Bennett Sisters Mystery. Read the first two parts to get the full story, and read all the books at Amazon.

Birds of a Feather 1: Swan & Peacock

Birds of a Feather 2: Crazy as a Loon

“I do suggest newbies start with the first-in-the-trilogy, “Swan & Peacock,” to enjoy all this set has to offer: “bucket list” setting, clever mystery, character driven plot, witty banter. Lise McClendon’s writing style is descriptive, clearly painting pictures of the Welsh countryside, varied personalities, and adding humor along with the mystery.” — Amazon reviewer

Contents

Characters

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

Epilogue

Bonus Recipe

The Bennett Sisters Mysteries

About the Author

Characters

In Birds of a Feather

The Bennett Sisters

Annie

Merle

Elise

Their partners

Callum Logan - Annie

Pascal d’Onscon - Merle

Conor Albion - Elise

Albion Family

Evans - father

Isabelle - mother

Conor - son

Aubrey - daughter

Freddy - Aubrey’s husband

Toby, Gwendolyn, & Michael - their children

Duncan - son

Pauline - Duncan’s girlfriend

Richard - Evans’s brother

Cecily - his wife

Bree and Sally - their daughters

Sabine Tatou - Isabelle’s second cousin

Gabriel Tremblay - Sabine’s amour

Staff at Monnow House

Audette - chef

Gini - maid

The Police

Badan Powe, Detective Inspector

Rogers, Chief Constable

Chapter One

Wales

Merle Bennett stood at the tall front windows of the cottage, next to the red brocade drapes, and idly scraped frost from the glass with a thumbnail. Outside the snow had begun to fall, lightly at first in swirling flurries, but now coming down in clumps and sticking to the grass and gravel driveway. She glanced behind her at her sister Elise, standing by the fireplace with Pascal, as her boyfriend Conor comforted his mother on the sofa.

The death of Isabelle Cadieux Albion’s cousin had been a shock to everyone at Monnow House. A most unwelcome New Year’s Day event, to say the least. Parked on the driveway were two police cruisers and the ambulance from Newport. The emergency medical team was slow to arrive, possibly given the indication that there was no actual emergency now.

Sabine Tatou had lain in that spot near the pond, under the thick green yew hedge and the chilly clouds, for another two hours after Freddy and his children had discovered the body. Pascal stood by the scene, making sure nothing was touched or moved. The local constables didn’t seem grateful. They crashed into the hedge to ensure Sabine was actually, truly deceased. Pascal was livid. Whatever evidence had been there was now ruined.

Merle turned back to the window as Isabelle bent her head into her hands and began to cry. Conor had his arm around her. Her husband, Evans, was cloistered in the library, his usual haunt, with his brother Richard.

Pascal had already told them what he’d gleaned about Sabine in his Internet research, which wasn’t much. The police had access to the same public records, no doubt. Supposedly someone from Cardiff was coming up, a detective inspector of some sort. Merle wondered if they’d all be subject to individual interviews the way they had in Scotland when the family went there for Annie and Callum’s wedding.

“Tea, madame?”

The young maid stood near her right elbow with a heavy tray of full teacups. “Cream or sugar, madame?” the girl said shyly.

Merle took a cup and a lump of sugar. “Thank you— Gini, is it?”

“Oui, madame.”

And she was gone, off on her rounds. Conor fixed his mother’s tea the way she liked it, then asked Elise how she took her tea. He was really good with women, Merle noticed. His sister and mother had taught him well. It certainly wasn’t by example from the men in his family.

Duncan lounged silently in the far corner of the room, brooding over his whisky, taking swigs and refilling at will. He was at least quiet now, not the noisy, spiteful drunk he sometimes was. Where was Pauline? She hadn’t been seen since they returned from the pond an hour earlier.

The tea warmed Merle. She hadn’t realized how chilled she was from standing outside. Elise’s lips had turned blue, that was the sign to go into the house. Merle walked over to her sister and Pascal. The fire was blazing, making standing in front of it warm but a little dangerous.

She slipped her arm around Pascal’s waist, feeling the comfort in his embrace. “What’s happening? Does anyone know?”

Elise said, “Conor said they heard from the detective that he may not get here until tomorrow because of the snow.”

“I hope Annie and Callum don’t get caught in it,” Merle said. “Oh. I suppose I should call her.” She frowned at the thought.

“Let them have their trip back to London,” Pascal advised.

Merle put her phone away and got an approving smile from him. The French were not as fixated on instant communication as Americans were.

Elise was listening to Conor talk to his mother. Merle leaned closer to Pascal. “What did you think? You saw her?”

He squinted. “Not good.”

“You mean— violence against her?” He gave a curt nod. “What?”

“No one is discovered dead in a hedge like that unless someone is trying to conceal her body.”

“Right but— no wounds or blood?”

“I didn’t examine her, blackbird.” He glanced outside at the police vehicles. “It is strange.”

“How so?”

“Who was missing during the day yesterday? Who went out searching for her?”

Merle frowned. “From what Elise said, she and Pauline did. And the men, Conor, his father, and uncle.”

“And Gabriel Tremblay. The lugubrious amour.”

She squeezed his waist. “You’ve been brushing up on vocabulary.”

“I like that word. What does it mean?”

“I have no idea,” she laughed.

“Okay, who was left in the house?”

“Let’s see. The chef and the maid. Isabelle and Cecily. Who else?”

“Duncan didn’t search, Conor said. Freddy and his family were at a castle with the children. Then off to bed?”

Merle nodded. “That leaves the cousins, Bree and Sally. They came home at some point and went up to their room.”

“Did they come down for soup? I don’t remember seeing

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