- Author: Fiona Leitch
Book online «A Sprinkle of Sabotage Fiona Leitch (best business books of all time txt) 📖». Author Fiona Leitch
A Sprinkle of SabotageA Nosey Parker Cozy Mystery
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First published in Great Britain by HarperCollinsPublishers 2021
Copyright © Fiona Leitch 2021
Cover design by Lucy Bennett © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2021
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Fiona Leitch asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work
A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library
This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.
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Source ISBN: 9780008436605
Ebook Edition © March 2021 ISBN: 9780008436599
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‘I’m ready for my close up, Mr DeMille.’
Daisy and I were in the kitchen eating breakfast but turned round at the sound of Mum’s voice.
‘What the—’ I spluttered, almost choking on my tea. Daisy’s mouth dropped open and a piece of half-chewed toast fell out. Germaine, our Pomeranian fur baby who had been lurking under the table hoping for scraps, took advantage of the distraction and gobbled it up.
My seventy-year-old mum stood in the doorway, clad in a floor-length black gown covered in sequins, several of which were barely hanging on by a thread. She had a bright-pink pashmina around her shoulders and lipstick that matched it. Long diamanté drops dangled from each ear, earrings that I recognised from my own stash of costume jewellery that hadn’t been worn for years. I thought she’d probably been going for a neatly coiffured up-do with her hair, but it looked like a magpie had made a nest on the top of her head, shoved in a cheap stolen tiara, and then squirted it with a liberal application of hair spray to stop it moving.
Daisy recovered her senses before I did. ‘That’s a … a bold look, Nana,’ she said, with a diplomacy that belied her tender years. Mum beamed at her and I swallowed hard; I couldn’t let her leave the house looking like this. It was 8.30 on a Saturday morning in sleepy Cornwall and she resembled a woman of geriatric easy virtue.
‘You look very… That dress is… It’s quite…’ I was lost for words, which doesn’t happen very often. When you’re a copper – which I had been, in a previous life – you come across all kinds of bizarre scenarios where what you say can be the difference between defusing the situation peacefully or making it all kick off. However, none of those previous cases had involved my mum. I fell back on a line that was the last resort of bewildered police officers the world over. ‘So what’s going on here, then?’
Mum attempted a look of affronted dignity, but just ended up looking constipated. ‘It’s the casting today, isn’t it?’ she said, in a voice that clearly suggested I should know what she was talking about. But I didn’t.
‘What casting? What are you going on about?’
She tutted as if you really couldn’t get the domestic staff these days and extracted a leaflet from the gold lamé evening bag she was clutching. I took it from her and read it aloud for Daisy’s benefit.
‘‘Ever wanted to be in a movie? Now’s your chance! Extras wanted for period drama filming in October at Polvarrow House, Penstowan Cross. Good rates of pay. Casting session Saturday 27th September from 10 a.m.’’ I looked at Mum. ‘So this is why you’re dressed up like Audrey Hepburn coming down from a bad acid trip, is it? This is why you got me to take you home yesterday, to pick your outfit up?’ Mum had her own house, but she more or less lived with us now that we’d moved back to Penstowan, enjoying the idea of independence without any of that tedious having-to-clean-your-own-bathroom business.
‘I was going more for a Downton Abbey look,’ said Mum reproachfully. ‘The film people popped in to the coffee morning on Wednesday.’ The local church held an OAPs’ coffee morning every week, which was a hotbed of gossip, scandal, and discussion about, I dunno, surgical stockings, heartburn tablets, and funeral insurance. What else would they have to talk about? ‘They asked us to put the word out as they'll need a lot of extras. I told them my daughter would bring me along.’
‘Would have been a good idea to tell me that,’ I grumbled, but I didn’t really mind. I didn’t have anything much planned for the day.
Daisy turned to look at me, excitement in her eyes, and I knew what she was going to say before she even opened her mouth.
‘Yes, you can come too,’ I said, ‘although I can’t promise they’ll need anyone of your age.’ I turned the leaflet over in my hand; there were more details about the movie on the back. ‘It says here it’s a period fantasy drama – whatever that means – with a top-notch cast including—’ I sucked in my breath and looked at Daisy with wide eyes. ‘Zack Smith!’
Daisy looked like she would fall off her chair. ‘Zack Smith? Oh my God, you’re joking! He’s amazing.’
‘Who the heck’s Zack