Authors: Emily Brightwell
“EMILY BRIGHTWELL…knows how to write a mystery that will keep you under its spell.”
INSPECTOR WITHERSPOON ALWAYS TRIUMPHS…
HOW DOES HE DO IT?
Even the inspector himself doesn’t know—because his secret weapon is as ladylike as she is clever. She’s Mrs. Jeffries—the determined, delightful detective who stars in this unique Victorian mystery series! Be sure to read them all…
The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries
A doctor is found dead in his own office—and Mrs. Jeffries must scour the premises to find the prescription for murder!
Mrs. Jeffries Dusts for Clues
One case is closed and another is opened when the inspector finds a missing brooch—pinned to a dead woman’s gown. But Mrs. Jeffries never cleans a room without dusting under the bed—and never gives up on a case before every loose end is tightly tied…
The Ghost and Mrs. Jeffries
Death is unpredictable…but the murder of Mrs. Hodges was foreseen at a spooky séance. The practical-minded housekeeper may not be able to see the future—but she can look into the past and put things in order to solve this haunting crime!
Mrs. Jeffries Takes Stock
A businessman has been murdered—and it could be because he cheated his stockholders. The housekeeper’s interest is piqued…and when it comes to catching killers, the smart money’s on Mrs. Jeffries!
Mrs. Jeffries on the Ball
A festive jubilee ball turns into a fatal affair—and Mrs. Jeffries must find the guilty party…
Mrs. Jeffries on the Trail
Why was Annie Shields out selling flowers so late on a foggy night? And more importantly, who killed her while she was doing it? It’s up to Mrs. Jeffries to sniff out the clues…
Mrs. Jeffries Plays the Cook
Mrs. Jeffries finds herself doing double duty: cooking for the inspector’s household and trying to cook a killer’s goose…
Mrs. Jeffries and the Missing Alibi
When Inspector Witherspoon becomes the main suspect in a murder, Scotland Yard refuses to let him investigate. But no one said anything about Mrs. Jeffries…
Mrs. Jeffries Stands Corrected
When a local publican is murdered, and Inspector Witherspoon botches the investigation, trouble starts to brew for Mrs. Jeffries…
Berkley Prime Crime titles by Emily Brightwell
THE INSPECTOR AND MRS. JEFFRIES
MRS. JEFFRIES DUSTS FOR CLUES
THE GHOST AND MRS. JEFFRIES
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES STOCK
MRS. JEFFRIES ON THE BALL
MRS. JEFFRIES ON THE TRAIL
MRS. JEFFRIES PLAYS THE COOK
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE MISSING ALIBI
MRS. JEFFRIES STANDS CORRECTED
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES THE STAGE
MRS. JEFFRIES QUESTIONS THE ANSWER
MRS. JEFFRIES REVEALS HER ART
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES THE CAKE
MRS. JEFFRIES ROCKS THE BOAT
MRS. JEFFRIES WEEDS THE PLOT
MRS. JEFFRIES PINCHES THE POST
MRS. JEFFRIES PLEADS HER CASE
MRS. JEFFRIES SWEEPS THE CHIMNEY
MRS. JEFFRIES STALKS THE HUNTER
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE SILENT KNIGHT
MRS. JEFFRIES APPEALS THE VERDICT
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE BEST LAID PLANS
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN
MRS. JEFFRIES HOLDS THE TRUMP
MRS. JEFFRIES IN THE NICK OF TIME
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE YULETIDE WEDDINGS
MRS. JEFFRIES SPEAKS HER MIND
MRS. JEFFRIES FORGES AHEAD
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE MISTLETOE MIX-UP
MRS. JEFFRIES DEFENDS HER OWN
MRS. JEFFRIES LEARNS THE TRADE
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES A SECOND LOOK
BERKLEY PRIME CRIME, NEW YORK
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES THE STAGE
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Prime Crime edition / March 1997
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1997 by The Berkley Publishing Group.
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eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-64491-1
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published
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design are trademarks belonging to Berkley Publishing Corporation.
To a wonderful friend and a wonderful writer, Maureen Child
“What’s that blackguard doing here?” Albert Parks muttered under his breath as he watched the small man in elegant black evening dress march down the center aisle of the Hayden Theatre.
Parks’s heartbeat raced, beads of sweat popped out on his forehead and his hands started to shake. He dropped the velvet curtain, letting the material close so he wouldn’t have to look at that hated face. What in the name of God was he going to do? The bastard wasn’t even supposed to be in England. The last Parks had heard, Hinchley was in New York savaging careers and giving the theatre people of London a well-earned rest from his vicious pen.
Now oblivious to the hustle and bustle going on around and behind him on the stage, Parks peeked through the curtain again. He spotted the critic taking a seat in the third row center. Damn. His eyes hadn’t been playing tricks on him. It was Hinchley all right.
“Mr. Parks,” the wardrobe mistress called from the
back of the stage. “Mr. Swinton wants a word with you before the show starts.”
Parks nodded dully and stepped away from the side curtain. “All right, Agnes. Tell him I’ll be right there.”
He wondered if Tally Drummond still kept a bottle of whiskey in the bottom of the prop box. With Hinchley here, they’d probably all need a drink by the end of the evening.
Trevor Remington, the leading man, saw Albert Parks wander off the stage. Parks’s shoulders were slumped and his face was pale. Remington, always curious, dashed over to the spot Parks had just vacated and inched the curtain apart. The house was full. Remington couldn’t see an empty seat, so what was wrong with dear old Albert? Fellow was a bit on the high strung side, but then again, most good directors were, Remington thought.
He started to step back when a man in the third row suddenly stood up. Remington’s breath left him in a rush, his ears rang and he felt his face flush with remembered shame. What was he doing here? Remington leapt back from the curtain so fast he almost tripped over his feet. Dear God in heaven, what was he going to do? Ogden Hinchley was in the audience. Ogden-the-ugly wasn’t in America; he was sitting right out front! Swearing softly, Remington stalked off the stage, brushing rudely past Edmund Delaney without so much as a word.
Edmund Delaney watched the actor stomp towards the back of the theatre. Must have a bad case of opening-night nerves, Delaney thought, then dismissed the man in favor of curiosity. He stepped up to the curtain on stage left, pulled it apart and peeked out. He smiled. Not an empty seat in the house. Quickly, he scanned the first few rows, wondering which critics had bothered to come. He hoped the
were here. Both papers
were quite sympathetic to new playwrights. Then he spotted the man in the third row. Delaney stared hard for a few moments, hoping his eyes were playing tricks on him. But they weren’t. The devil. In the flesh. Delaney’s hands clenched into fists, a red mist of rage floated in front of his face and for a brief moment, he thought he might be sick.
“Five minutes, everyone.” Delaney heard Eddie Garvey, the stage manager, call the warning.
Delaney, his face set like a stone, turned and walked stiffly off the stage without so much as a glance at the stage manager or the wardrobe mistress. He was too sunk in his own misery to notice anyone.
“Well, what’s got into him?” Garvey asked. But Agnes had already hustled off to make sure the first scene changes were ready, so he ended up talking to himself.
“What’s got into who?” Willard Swinton, the owner of the Hayden Theatre, said from behind Garvey.
“Mr. Delaney.” Garvey nodded toward the curtain. “He was having a peek at the house and then he walked off like he’d seen a ghost.”
Swinton, a balding man with a huge mustache and an infectious grin, laughed. “He probably saw one of his former mistresses in the front row. No doubt that would give a man pause.” Swinton wandered over to the curtain, eased it apart and looked out. “I wonder which of his former lovelies has turned up to torment the poor man…” His voice trailed off as he saw a familiar figure sitting in the third row. “Blast and thunder,” he cursed softly under his breath.
“What’d you say, Mr. Swinton?” Garvey asked curiously. “Who’s out there?”
Swinton quickly dropped the curtain and leapt back. “No one,” he said hastily. “No one at all. Go on, Garvey,
get about your business. We’ve a play to put on and I don’t want any mistakes tonight.”
“Yes, sir.” Garvey hustled off. But he wondered just who was sitting out front. This was the fourth person now who’d looked like they’d seen the devil himself out front. The director, the playwright, the leading man and now Mr. Swinton had turned pale as curdled milk when they’d peeked through that curtain. Eddie Garvey decided he’d take a gander himself as soon as he got Mr. Swinton out of his way.