I am hard at work on The Dastardly Mr. Deeds, the second book in The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series. It is one of the toughest books that I have written as I have to write two books in one. I don’t want to get too much into the plot with this as I’ll give too much away. Suffice to say that Gertrude and Sgt Betty Bruce return in a search for the answers to the feet in sneakers that keep washing up on the beaches on various islands along the British Columbia coastline, including Seal Island. Between the sawed off feet and the body of a woman that washes up on shore, Betty has her hands full so is it any wonder that she has to put her search for a serial killer on hold.
Just to entertain you….here is the prelude:
Gertrude and her bestie, Peaches, ran amuck, trampling flower beds and scattering Morris Tweedsmuir’s goats to the four winds once again. On a whim, they decided to race across the boardwalk that joined the grocery store, hardware store, and the Bristling Boar Pub together. People scrambled out of their way.
Someone left the pub’s door open and the duo barged in.
An athletic and still quite striking grey haired man with a twinkle in his eye and the red nose of an alcoholic sat at the bar. He laughed and turned his attention from the regal blond woman sitting beside him to the wayward pig. He offered Gertrude the rest of his beer. Before the pig had a chance to quaff it down, Gwen Mann chased Gertie and Peaches out of the pub with a broom. Gertrude squealed in disappointment and Peaches bawled, the cow’s feelings positively hurt by the expletives that came out of the tiny Malaysian woman’s mouth as she smacked the Jersey cow’s bottom.
In their hasty retreat, the unstoppable duo knocked over trash bins and broke down the porch railing on the outside deck before leaping down the two steps to safety. The men in the pub cheered raucously, their faces glued to the windows.
Eighty year old Archie Bruce stood on the pub steps, beer in hand, amused. It was just another day on Seal Island.
As he ran a hand through his head of thick silver hair, he thanked his lucky stars given recent events on the island. Loves were lost, new ones formed, and then those too were lost. It was time to enjoy the simple things in life once again and watching his rotund pot-bellied pig and her Jersey cow cohort wreak destruction wherever they went cheered him up considerably. The pig and Jersey cow were his problems now since he had adopted Peaches after her owner died in a most spectacular fall.
He saw his daughter, Betty, looking down the hill from the cemetery, the church steeple rising above her like a shining white beacon of light against the darkening rain clouds above it, and raised his mug to her.
Betty waved back, finding comfort in the fact that on Seal Island, no matter the tragedy, some things never changed…and then her cell phone began to ring!
Betty looked at the cell phone’s display. Doc Forester’s name flashed across the screen. She sighed wearily. Now what?
“Hello,” she answered, annoyed. She had asked the detachment commander to cut her some slack, at least for a day or two.
The raven that had been watching her lay flowers on the graves of her old friend, Eliza Bone, and her handsome beau, slash torrid romance writer, slash serial killer, Andy McDowell, returned, as if out of nowhere. It settled upon Eliza’s headstone, its golden eyes meeting Betty’s own. A large black wing feather fluttered to the ground.
She listened to Doc Forester’s gentle voice, his words penetrating her heart.
“What do you mean it wasn’t Andy’s child,” whispered Betty into the phone. “How come we didn’t know this earlier?”
Betty’s hands began to tremble as Andy’s last words and final moments flashed through her mind: his words, his uncharacteristic rage, the beseeching look in his eyes as he tumbled over the cliff.
“So what you’re saying is that Andy’s confession wasn’t a confession at all.”
The grey haired man with a Rudolph nose and flushed cheeks wandered out of the bar. He stopped beside Archie.
“You’ve got your hands full with those two, Archie,” Barney Whyte joked with his best friend and poker buddy.
“Not really,” Archie responded, “I just let them do what they want.”
“And pay for the damages,” Barney.
“Pretty much,” Archie agreed.
The two men laughed.
Barney eyed Betty as she paced back and forth in the cemetery, talking on her phone. She was clearly agitated. His eyes narrowed as he watched her.
“See you later, Archie,” Barney mumbled, stepping down the porch steps.
“Wife’s not going with you,” Archie asked.
“She’s waiting for my pilot to get here with the float plane. Going to go do what all my wives seemed do best,” the old man growled.
“And I pay for it.”
“Why don’t you come over for dinner then? I’ll give Reggie and Stew a call. Maybe we can organize a game tonight.”
“Thanks, but I’ve got a new batch of brew that wants bottling.”
“You know that stuff’s going to kill you one day,” Archie cajoled him, “or make you go blind.”
“That’s the idea,” Barney answered, tugging his hoodie up over his head.