Monday, June 3, 2013

Book Feature: A Case of Poisons

This is an announcement to let all of my Readers know that Hazel West's newest book, A Case of Poisons, has been released today! Look for my review of A Case of Poisons in a few weeks!

Synopsis: Anthony Maxwell is a private investigator, a consultant for the mostly incompetent inspectors at Scotland Yard, on occasion a writer, and always a lover of coffee. He has been working small cases for several years to pay the bills when he's introduced to the first multiple murder case of his career early one morning, when a witness catches a man trying to unload a body to bury in a nearby graveyard. Soon the first body is joined by three more in the course of a single morning and Anthony knows this is no ordinary serial murder case. And why is the murderer targeting beggars and urchin children? If that wasn't cause enough to worry, all the victims are covered with horrible wounds and show signs of exotic poisoning. Anthony, along with his partners Tobias - an ex-broadsman and well-known charmer - and Scamp - a street smart and talented young woman - work to find out why is murdering the helpless beggars and children in such horrifying ways. The first book in this new Victorian steampunk series takes the three companions to the limits of their abilities as they go up against canny murderers, bruisers who appear invincible, anarchist groups, and even ancient British royalty in the biggest case Anthony Maxwell has ever worked in his career.

About the Author:
I'm Hazel B. West, a self published author who currently has four published titles Freedom Come All Ye, Ballad of the Highwayman, On a Foreign Field, and By Blood or By Bond (along with it's companion backstories) and the Anthony Maxwell mystery series. I love English, Scottish and Irish history, and use my research to write historical novels.

Apart from being a writer, I love to read, sketch, listen to music as well as play my instruments, and drink coffee. I'm a history buff and bibliophile and would love to hike in the mountains if I didn't live in Florida.

Find Hazel At These Place:

Purchase Links:

Excerpt from A Case of Poisons (Chapter 2)

I didn’t really know why I felt I needed to inspect the graveyard, only that it was my gut feeling, and when one is in my profession, going with your gut feeling is part of the job. So we parked the contraptions safely to one side of the road and took a bit of a walk in the direction of the nearest graveyard, which was attached to one of the aforementioned quiet old churches.

The place didn’t look like it had been touched since the Reformation, and looking at some of the grave marker dates, that assumption turned out to be quite correct, but I could tell at once that some of the lots were hardly as old looking as the mossy stones and crosses that were scattered in the haphazard way of old graveyards. In fact, it was my firmest belief that several of the graves looked quite new.

Tobias saw this as well. ‘Tony, if it wasn’t for the dates on the headstones, I would think that that grave had been dug no earlier than yesterday.’

‘My thoughts exactly, my dear chap,’ I replied as I crouched down by the nearest lot. The turf was lumpy over top of it, as if it had been carefully removed and just as carefully replaced once the ground had been dug underneath. I would have said grave robbers, expect for the fact that, one, this graveyard was of Puritan origin, and it was a well known fact that the Puritans had little to nothing of inherent value, and two, a freshly dead body had been found in the vicinity just that morning. I turned to Scamp.

‘My dear, would you go and fetch my collapsing shovel from the boot of Tobs’ contraption? I do believe it should still be there from the Waxford case, unless our friend has removed it.’

‘No, it should still be there,’ Tobias replied, and as Scamp trotted back to the road to fetch it, I crouched down to start peeling up the sod from the freshly dug grave. I noticed out of the corner of my eye, Mr Bradswell rocking impatiently from one foot to the other. I finally turned around as he cleared his throat.

‘I’m sorry, but, do you need me anymore? If not, then I really must get back to work,’ he said.

‘That is fine,’ I told him with a wave of dismissal. ‘We know where to find you should we need you again.’ Not likely, I added in my mind. The only people I counted more incompetent in an investigation than the inspectors who could not ask the right questions, were the witnesses or victims who could not provide the right answers to questions not even asked. Sometimes I wonder how a race that, for the most part, was born almost annoyingly curious, cannot be so when it really matters.

Scamp came back with the folding shovel and I stood, handing my overcoat and jacket to Tobs as I stomped on the back of the shovel and watched it pop open with a twang. I then set to work, digging at a steady pace, and glad of the light rain that misted my face as I worked. It was not very long before I uncovered something among the dirt. It was cloth of some sort, and not nearly as old as it should have been had it belonged to the grave’s original occupant. I carefully shoveled more dirt aside now, hating the thought of accidentally stabbing the spade into a dead body, and then bent to brush more dirt aside. Tobias and Scamp crouched over me as I did so, eager to see what terra incognita I might unearth.

I brushed aside more soil from the fabric and then found at the end of it, a human hand. I recoiled at the touch of it at first, for I had not expected to find it there—foolish of me, I know, seeing as it was my own idea to go digging in graves—but once the initial shock was passed, all three of us bent to unearth the body that was hidden in the grave. As we did so, I had no doubt as to what we had found. I sat back on my heels, rubbing my hands vigorously in the dewy grass to wipe the dirt from them and turned to my two companions.

‘I think it is time we speak to Inspector Garrett again,’ I said grimly.

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