The Dead Betray None
A Viscount Ware Mystery
by J.L. Buck
Genre: Historical Regency Mystery
Excerpt setting: Lady Anne and her cousin are at their great-aunt home in the country. The cousin has confessed she is being blackmailed for a large sum of money to be delivered at a Christmastide Ball in London. They are short of funds.
“I shall tell my man of business he must find the rest,” Aunt Meg declared, sitting straighter now a plan was taking shape. “And I shall recover my strength to chaperone you in London, Georgina, and…and meet with the blackmailer.” When Anne started to speak, her aunt shushed her. “No, Anne. Georgina cannot be allowed to face this scoundrel herself.”
“Good heavens, no!” Anne could not imagine how badly that would go. “Nor do I wish you to risk your health, Auntie, in such a frightening situation. You asked for my help, and this is something I can do. I shall deliver the money.”
The resulting argument was brief; even Georgina recognized it was the best of rather limited options. Before they retired for the evening, Aunt Meg wrote to the Barbarys that she would be bringing an additional guest. “At least you shall have your first London ball,” Aunt Meg said, giving Anne a tearful smile. “I am happy for that.”
The idea startled Anne. She had not thought that far ahead.
Late into the night, she lay awake in bed, listening to a tree branch scrape against the house with each new gust of wind and staring at the ceiling in the dim moonlight. She had finished her letter to her parents without mentioning the blackmail. If she told them, they would be alarmed and forbid her to go to London.
And she must go. There was no one else.
As it was, her parents would be delighted she was extending her stay to include a holiday in London. Her gentle, beautiful mother—left an invalid ten years ago after barely surviving scarlet fever—had become insistent the past year that her father take Anne to London and find a sponsor to bring her into Society. Anne had never asked or even dreamed it would happen, feeling she was needed at home. But Father had hired a nurse this year that Mother had taken a great liking to, and it had made this visit possible. And now London.
With even a brief taste of London society a real possibility, Anne found herself excited, and she smiled in the dark…until she remembered with a jolt that she going there to confront a blackmailer.
J l Buck began writing full-time after she retired from a legal career with the Juvenile Court System. Over the next few years, she published sixteen urban fantasy/paranormal novels under the pen name of Ally Shields. In 2019, she decided to fulfill a childhood wish to write mysteries, chose a period in history that fascinated her—and began work on the Viscount Ware Mystery series set in Regency England.
Ms Buck lives in the Midwest with Latte, a mischievous Siamese cat, who attempts to co-author her writing by taking over the keyboard. When not writing or running two blogs, J L Buck enjoys her eight grandchildren (and a great-grandson), reading (preferably on a sunny deck), travel (USA and abroad), and binge-watching any sub-genre of mystery shows.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!