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 An Alarming Tale of British Murderand Woe

By EarhartKentworth

Edited byTedd Hawks

Beatriceor An Alarming Tale of British Murder and Woe

Copyright © 2021 by Tedd Hawks

ISBN: 9781736505908

Cover design by Sarah Lavere

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any formor by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,or by any information storage retrieval system, without written permission fromthe author.

Tedd Hawks



This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living ordead is entirely coincidental.


For JJ, who is always wonderful enough to ask,

and my dad, who encouraged me to laugh.

Table of Contents

Cast of Characters

ANote from the Author

ANote on the Author’s Note

ANote on the Note about the Author’s Note

Prologue: The Complex History of the Hawsfeffers

Chapter1: The Solicitor and His Assistant

Chapter 2: Beatrice

Chapter3: A Suspicion

Chapter4: The Last Arrivals

Chapter 5: Lucinda’s Last Words

Chapter6: An Indigent and a Lady

Chapter7: A Voice in the Dark

Chapter8: The Pot Boils

Chapter9: A Perfect Night for Murder

Chapter 10: The Aftermath

Chapter 11: The Vault

Chapter12: A Prime Suspect

Chapter 13: Sleuthing

Chapter14: May’s Secret

Chapter15: A Shot in the Dark

Chapter 16: Detective Lucian Lucretian Pimento

Chapter17: Tick Tock

Chapter 18: Portraits of Death

Chapter 19: Toward the Climax

Chapter20: Bixby Ex Machina

Chapter21: Pimento, Triumphant

Chapter 22: Brontë at the Brink

Chapter 23: Crockett’s Confession

Chapter24: A Murderer’s Monologue

Chapter25: The Battle of the Tiddlymouth

Chapter 26: Martha

Chapter27: The End of the Affair

Chapter28: The Danube Mob

AnAfterword and Apology

Cast ofCharacters

CrockettCook—19-year-old junior solicitor, anxious around danger and the female sex

PetrarchBluster—master solicitor, rotund and joyful

TheVon Bunsons

The Baron(deceased)—created the estate which fell to the Hawsfeffer family, diedmysteriously

Gladys(deceased)—classically pale and sickly Victorian, (also) died mysteriously

Bixby (ex-patriated)—theatricaland garish, moved to the United States to seek his fortune


Bixby(deceased)—patriarch of the Hawsfeffers, recently died in a boating incident

Lucinda (deceased)—firstwife of Bixby Hawsfeffer, (also) died in a boating incident

Pip (BixbyHawsfeffer, Jr.)—homosexual son from Bixby’s first marriage, now in Paris

Corinthiana—secondwife of Bixby Hawsfeffer, classist, loves prolonged vowels

May—youngestdaughter of Corinthiana and Bixby Hawsfeffer, failed nun

RobertEdward Harrington—second cousin of Bixby Hawsfeffer, odd face and accent


August—marriedto June, family is known for dying under non-nefarious circumstances

June—eldestdaughter of Corinthiana and Bixby Hawsfeffer, really quite ordinary

Brontë—eldestdaughter of June and August, prone to wearing trousers, speaking her mind

Kordelia—youngestdaughter of June and August, arsonist, dramatist, oddball

TheHawsfeffer Staff

Martha Smith—familymaid, served the house since Bixby Hawsfeffer’s first marriage to Lucinda

DexterFletcher—family groundskeeper, prone to theatrics and being forgotten

A Note from the Author

14 January1913

ToWhomsoever It May Concern:

It behooves the authorto warn the reader that the following is based on entirely almost-true events.There was an encounter with Mrs. W——’s barrister which led to the “almost”portion as select occurrences had to be altered to protect the identities of certainpersons. If the true nature of the crime were to be public, it could tarnishthe reputation of the W—— and H—— families forever. As their position in West Hampminstershireshiresociety is rather tortured as is, I have agreed to write this almost account onbehalf of Mrs. W—— and her family. The family’s need for total privacy wasovershadowed by the hope that the following text would generate a small income,enough to provide for their youngest daughter at her new French finishingschool, as opposed to the Swiss institution which had made her almost entirelyunbearable on the subject of cheeses.

            Butthat aside, certain events are absolutely true.

            Therewas a grisly murder.

            Therewas a love story.

            Therewas, indeed, a plot of much cunning to conceal all.

            Ihave recorded as much of the incident as truthfully as possible. When Mrs. W—— appearedat my door, weeping about the loss of her dear friend and asking how much agood mystery book could earn a fair, gentle, middle-aged woman, I promptlyassured her that it directly correlated to the amount of gruesome details thatcould be included therein. Between sobs she assured me that there was a largeamount of such things and that, if needed, additional, tasteful gore could beadded in order to heighten tensions.

            Thatwas the beginning of our story, the adventure. I write this to you at the endof it all, the barrister’s extensive notes taken into account (“Does bloodreally ‘burst with geyser-like zest’ from a papercut?”). I present to you the,henceforth named, Windham and Hogsdish families and the death of their dearfriend. It is not for the faint of heart, or those afraid of lawyers as thereare several included in the following pages, but I sincerely hope that I do thewhole complicated debacle justice.

Your servant,

Earhart Kentworth

A Note on the Author’s Note

17 March 2020

Dear Reader,

            Italso may behoove you (in a rare instance of double behoovement) to know thatthis text was discovered by dumb luck while I was visiting a bookshop inLondon.

            Imentioned to the store owner that I was working on my third book, a mysterynovel. His interest was immediately piqued, and he told me about his distantcousin, who had written a draft of a novel a long time ago based on eventswhich occurred in a large family. The story he described included deaths,betrayals, fallen nuns, and ghosts. He said that his cousin who wrote the novelwas prone to drink and flights of fancy and that he only sold one novel to apublisher during his entire career, a romance about a pirate and a mermaid. Thebook in question sold only forty-five copies, thirty-seven to the author’smother, Adelaide Earhart, and one to Ms. Kordelia Hawsfeffer, who went on torecommend the author to her mother to tell their family’s story.

            Asthe shopkeeper told me more about this unsuccessful writer, I couldn’t help butfeel a certain connection. I, too, was an unsuccessful writer who was prone toflights of fancy and drink.

            Aftera long chat, the owner agreed to give me the manuscript to clean up andpublish. I have to say that Earhart did (mostly) an excellent job on theinitial draft. My main contribution was toning down scenes of horrific violencethat, from the previous note, seem to be a device used for increasing sales. Therewere some questionable pieces added which I have largely edited out, but forthe most part, I think the text is fine in its own right and hischaracterizations are actually very good. In the end it took two bad writers toget this text to the public, but we hope that you will

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