At 9:23 A.M., a scream echoed down the hallway. Julia, the upstairs maid, ran to the stairway, breathlessly imploring guests below.”Come quick! I think she’s dead!”
William reached the landing a half step ahead of Sir Winthrop. The two raced up stairs, reaching Lady Carlisle’s doorway behind several other responders. By the time Elizabeth arrived, the two men bent over a motionless figure on Lady Carlisle’s bed.
As she approached, she could see the victim still dressed in a party gown, now heavily stained with blood.
Elizabeth gasped.”What has happened to Lady Carlisle?”
“It is not my Aunt, Elizabeth. It is Louisa Hurst with a serving knife in her back,” William answered.
At that moment, Madeline entered the room. The tall, dark-haired woman pushed by Elizabeth and stepped next to William. Her face turned ashen and she fainted at the sight of her sister. Sir Winthrop lifted her to a nearby chair and called for water. Charles arrived looking horrified as he surveyed the scene. He reached over to clutch Madeline and helped her drink.
A crowd of onlookers had gathered in the doorway. Someone requested to wake Arthur, still asleep in another room. A servant was dispatched to fetch Doctor Gracepool and the constable of Langdon, some twenty miles away. As the group of guests milled about the bedroom, Elizabeth’s eye caught a reflection near the foot of the bed. Reaching down, she discovered a small pendant the size of her thumb carved with a fleur de lis emblem. Turning it over, she gasped at the inscription on the back.
Colombe du Paix. Bonaparte.
William Darmon and wife Elizabeth were powerful figures who in 1818 set society’s pace from expansive grounds known as Mayfair Hall. When a family member is murdered, a mysterious pendant is found containing a long lost request by Napoleon Bonaparte for an American mission to burn down Parliament buildings. The couple sets out on an action filled pursuit of the killer. While interviewing Henry Clay in post-war Maryland about the failed mission, they uncover evidence of a conspiracy to free the Emperor from exile. The Darmons infiltrate the cadre, but a shipwreck off the coast of Scotland, a firestorm at the Darmon’s Manor and a harrowing assault on the Island of St. Helena loom before the mystery can be unraveled.
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Genre – Mystery, Historical, Thriller
Rating – PG
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