Title: The Windermere Witness
Author: Rebecca Tope
Genre: Mystery & Detective
Publish Date: 1/6/2015
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
Following a personal tragedy, florist Persimmon “Simmy” Brown has moved to the beautiful region of the Lake District to be closer to her charismatic parents. Things are going well, and Simmy is happy to lose herself in her work. But the peace she has found is shattered when, at the wedding of a millionaire’s daughter, the bride’s brother is found brutally murdered in the lake.
As the wedding florist and one of the last people to talk to Mark Baxter alive, Simmy gradually becomes involved with the grief-ridden and angry relatives. All seem to have their fair share of secrets and scandals - a distant mother, a cheating father, and a husband twenty-five years older than his bride. When events take another sinister turn, all eyes turn to the groom and his close knit friends each more secretive and volatile than the next. As a prime witness Simmy finds herself at the heart of a murder investigation
that could undo a family and a whole town…
Simmy wandered out of the hotel, hoping to see Melanie waiting for her. The shambles of the wedding was increasingly evident, with groups of finely dressed guests hovering uncertainly on the lakeside. There should be a major banquet underway by this time, with champagne and speeches and gaiety. Whatever might have happened to Markie, people had to eat, the planned schedule presumably somehow had to be adhered to. The additional staff employed by the hotel would be in the kitchen and its adjoining rooms, wondering what to do. The main players would be required to speak to the police, the parents of the dead boy too flattened to play their wedding roles. Except, his mother was unlikely to be present. George Baxter was unlikely to countenance the presence of both her and his first wife, Eleanor. Where was she, then? Did she know what happened?
The ambivalence of all weddings was a familiar theme for Simmy. Serious and silly, portentous and frivolous – the excesses inherent in the celebratory aspect overshadowing the produndity of the emotions and the public commitment. Hapless registrars did their best to conjure the more solemn implications in the midst of froth and flowers. As a florist, Simmy understood that she was assumed to be on the side of the front. She was expected to focus on matching shades of peachy pink, and the exact drop of a swag of autumn leaves – and she diligently fulfilled such expectations. It was a job, a profession, for which she had studied and passed exams. Few people grasped that a florist had to listen to stories of sudden deaths and inconvenient births. They had to take enormous care over wording on cards and timing of deliveries. The wrong flowers could cause decades of offence. They were invisible but crucial bystanders at the major life events that overtook every family in the land. Where a wedding demanded far more labour than any other occasion, Simmy was fully aware that the really important work lay with a funeral.
And young Markie Baxter was going to have a very big and very public funeral one of these days.
Rebecca Tope is the author of four murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker; Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds and now Persimmon Brown, Lake District florist. She is also a “ghost writer” of the novels based on the IT Vseries Rosemary and Thyme.
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