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Authors: Emma Jameson

Tags: #mystery, #dective, #england, #baron, #british detectives, #cozy mystery, #london, #lord, #scotland yard

02 Blue Murder

BOOK: 02 Blue Murder
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Blue Murder

Lord & Lady Hetheridge #2

Emma Jameson




Blue Murder

Lord & Lady Hetheridge #2

Copyright © 2012 Emma Jameson

All Rights Reserved.

Editor: Karin Cox & Jennifer Sommersby

Cover Artist:
J. David Peterson



This eBook is licensed for your personal
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Without limiting the rights under copyright
reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in
any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise), without prior written permission of both
the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.


Publisher’s Note:
This book is a work of fiction. People, places,
events, and situations are the product of the author’s imagination.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical
events, is purely coincidental.



Table Of


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Author’s Biography

Excerpt from Past Lives # 1




For everyone who
Ice Blue
waited, patiently or impatiently, for book two. Thank you from the
bottom of my heart.

Chapter One

nthony Hetheridge, ninth baron of Wellegrave and chief
superintendent for New Scotland Yard, contemplated the engagement
ring nestled inside its velvet-lined box. Both the ring and the
silver-plated box were vintage—
, he thought with a slight

Many years ago, when art
deco designs were all the rage, some marriage-minded Hetheridge had
commissioned the ring. It was magnificent. Its solitaire—a
cushion-cut diamond of at least two carats—was set in platinum, the
metal of choice in that prewar era. Fixed on either side of the
diamond were two identical sapphires. Inside the box they looked
subdued, but in the correct light, on a woman’s third finger, those
sapphires would rival the diamond for drama and fire. Hetheridge,
who’d concealed the ring inside his desk at New Scotland Yard for
more than a week, did not know its present-day value. Growing up
surrounded by heirlooms, he found one was very like another;
rarely, if ever, did their market value cross his mind. He
know that his
marriage-minded forbearer presented that particular ring to a blond
bombshell on St. Valentine’s Day, 1926. And received an immediate
and emphatic answer: no.

But that’s the upside of
having been turned down once already
Hetheridge thought, leaning back in his executive armchair, one
perfectly polished wingtip braced against the desk’s bottom drawer
for an anchor.
If Kate refuses me again,
at least I have some experience taking no for an answer.

But he didn’t care to take no for an answer.
This time he didn’t want to take anything less than an unqualified
yes. Hetheridge, who rejected all forms of superstition and had
zero patience for talismans, horoscopes and what Detective Sergeant
Bhar called “bad ju-ju,” regarded his old family ring with grudging
suspicion. Suppose the damned thing was cursed?

Of course, Hetheridge didn’t have to present
Kate with this ring. He could pop round to Tiffany’s and purchase a
brand new solitaire. A ring with no history. No character. No
connotations of bold extravagance and doomed romance ...

But that would never do. Hetheridge and the
ring were too much alike. If Kate wouldn’t have the antique ring,
what use would she have for a sixty-year-old detective? His fate
was bound up with the ring’s, that much was clear. Even if he
didn’t believe in fate.

Hetheridge supposed this was the sort of
dilemma other men discussed with friends. Bleating about personal
matters, however, had never been his way. Professionally, he
believed in open channels of communication. He wouldn’t dream of
working a murder case without sharing every relevant fact and
opinion. But in his private life he kept his own counsel. That
meant he was never forced to endure the scorn or pity of those who
witnessed his failures. But it also left Hetheridge wondering, in
the silence of his own mind, if he were on the right track or
barking mad.

It’s too
, Hetheridge told himself for the
hundredth time.
Kate and I have known each
other fewer than two months. Attempted exactly one ridiculous
“date,” if it can be termed that, with her entire family in tow.
Kissed only twice. And never more than a kiss.
Even when Hetheridge had been engaged years before, couples
didn’t embark on marriage without discovering if they were sexually
compatible. And that had been ...

Dear God. That brief engagement to a gold
digger named Madge had been more than twenty years ago.

Eyes still on the ring, Hetheridge ceased to
see it, distracted by an increasingly graphic train of thought. He
knew Kate found him attractive. Although neither tall nor handsome,
Hetheridge had grown into his looks in middle age. Still fit and
trim with a full head of steel-gray hair, he had no trouble
commanding the attention of desirable women, at least when he put
aside his duties long enough to seek them out. But with Kate, the
frisson of uncertainty tormented him. Hetheridge didn’t doubt his
ability to hold her attention for a night, or for the sort of
three-week affair he’d once preferred. But a mini-break in Paris or
a romantic dinner or half a dozen shags—that was worlds away from
for better or for worse.

A polished wingtip still pressed against the
desk, Hetheridge tilted back another centimeter or two, ignoring
his armchair’s creak of protest. He often balanced this way when he
was deep in thought, trying to tease together the individual pieces
of a case. And much to the dismay of his young subordinates—most
notably Detective Sergeant Deepal Bhar—Hetheridge had never
overbalanced and toppled over.

But really, how had he found himself in such
a position, besotted with a junior officer under his direct
command? It was highly improper, especially given the Met’s latest
round of internal studies and investigations. A battle-scarred old
beast, the Metropolitan Police Service was determined to claw its
way into the modern era, not die buried under an avalanche of civil
rights lawsuits. In light of the Met’s new rules, Hetheridge’s only
defense was technical; he wasn’t having it off with Kate, wasn’t
even dating her, not in the accepted sense. And mere gossip wasn’t
enough to damage him—even in New Scotland Yard’s increasingly
egalitarian environment, the old guard held silent sway.
Technically, an affair between Hetheridge and Kate could earn him
forced retirement and Kate the sack. In reality, no matter what the
Internal Police Complaints Commission decreed or the commissioner
vowed on BBC1, Hetheridge knew he’d never get the boot for pursuing
an intra-office romance. Not unless every one of his male superior
officers disappeared off the face of the earth. The old guard
simply wouldn’t stand for such a thing.

That didn’t mean Hetheridge wouldn’t endure
a certain amount of disapproval behind closed doors should his
pursuit of Kate become common knowledge. Most of his fellow chief
superintendents had been married for ages, their children long
since grown. During each decade of Hetheridge’s career—his
twenties, thirties, forties and fifties—a superior had at some
point steered him toward a drinks trolley, intoning over a Scotch
and water, “You need a wife, Tony. It’ll do wonders for your
career. And surely it’s expected, hey? You must be under pressure
to beget the next Lord Hetheridge.”

But Hetheridge had resisted—laughing off the
suggestions, or pretending to give them due consideration, or
digging in his heels and resorting to the authoritative demeanor
that was his birthright. When Hetheridge’s gaze chilled and his
voice rang out like lord of the manor, even Assistant Commissioner
Michael Deaver got in touch with his inner peasant. It was a
cracking good trick, and one Hetheridge rarely used on his fellow
officers. But the necessity of his selecting a wife—more specific,
a correct wife for a correct marriage—had long been a sore point
with him.

What did he truly owe the
barony of Wellegrave? Hetheridge’s often-absent father and cool,
distant mother had loved their eldest son as they’d never loved
him. And so the older son’s accidental death had saddled Hetheridge
with all the responsibilities but none of the familial pride. He’d
come of age determined to choose his own road, the Peerage and his
family hierarchy be damned. He’d even joined the Metropolitan
Police Force (in the years before the term “force” was replaced
with the more politically correct “service”) over his father’s
threats to disown him. That had not happened, alas, although the
ensuing breach had been almost insurmountable. Hetheridge hadn’t
cared. He’d immersed himself in his work, rising quickly within the
Met to earn his place within New Scotland Yard. There he found deep
pleasure in the minutiae of detective work, connecting the tiniest
dots to reveal larger truths. It was a career he loved
unreservedly. But he did his best to keep that love decently
concealed so it would embarrass no one, least of all himself. And
before he knew it, Hetheridge was forty, fifty and now sixty, at a
time of life when he should have been contemplating grandchildren,
if not the
and a spot of tea. But inside
he felt as young and vital as ever.

More vital, truth be told, after meeting
Kate. She deserved far more from him than his usual three-week
fling. And for a man of his generation, the intrusion of so many
wildly erotic thoughts could be answered just one other way:

The door to Hetheridge’s
inner office banged open. Startled, Hetheridge closed his fist,
snapping the jewel box shut. As both feet hit the floor, his
armchair’s front legs struck with an echoing
. It was the closest he’d ever
come to losing his balance, and the moment’s significance wasn’t
lost on Detective Sergeant Deepal Bhar. He grinned at Hetheridge
from the doorway, black eyes alight.

Yes?” Hetheridge strove to
look composed.

I do apologize, Chief
Superintendent Hetheridge,” announced his administrative assistant,
Mrs. Snell. Although cadaverous, with graying flesh and thin
wrinkled lips, she’d been at the Met only as long as Hetheridge,
making her no more than sixty. Tall and bony, with gray pin curls
and a habitually suspicious expression, Mrs. Snell glared at Bhar
like the Shadow of Death in sensible shoes. “When I left my desk to
water the plants, DS Bhar took it upon himself to break in

BOOK: 02 Blue Murder
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