Authors: Emily Brightwell
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 solved 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 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…
Mrs. Jeffries Takes the Stage
After a theatre critic is murdered, Mrs. Jeffries uncovers the victim’s secret past: a real-life drama more compelling than any stage play…
Mrs. Jeffries Questions the Answer
Hannah Cameron was not well-liked. But were her friends or family the sort to stab her in the back? Mrs. Jeffries must really tiptoe around this time—or it could be a matter of life and death…
Mrs. Jeffries Reveals Her Art
Mrs. Jeffries has to work double-time to find a missing model
a killer. And she’ll have to get her whole staff involved—before someone else becomes the next subject…
Mrs. Jeffries Takes the Cake
The evidence was all there: a dead body, two dessert plates, and a gun. As if Mr. Ashbury had been sharing cake with his own killer! Now Mrs. Jeffries will have to do some snooping around—to dish up clues…
Mrs. Jeffries Rocks the Boat
Mirabelle had traveled by boat all the way from Australia to visit her sister—only to wind up murdered. Now Mrs. Jeffries must solve the case—and it’s sink or swim!
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
WEEDS THE PLOT
BERKLEY PRIME CRIME, NEW YORK
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are
either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously,
and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business
establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
MRS. JEFFRIES WEEDS THE PLOT
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Prime Crime edition / November 2000
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2000 by Cheryl Arguile.
This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part,
by mimeograph or any other means, without permission.
For information address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
Emily Brightwell World Wide Web site address is
eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-64501-7
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published
by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
The name BERKLEY PRIME CRIME and the BERKLEY PRIME CRIME design are trademarks belonging to Penguin Putnam Inc.
To Ann Ruggles,
with my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for
answering all my questions about dogs.
And to Oreo, Abby, and Clancy,
with thanks for the great stories
and the good laughs.
“Really, I honestly don’t know why Louisa won’t believe me. I’m not making it up,” Annabeth Gentry said to her maid. She was an attractive, blond woman in her late thirties. Her eyes were bright blue and she possessed a cheerful disposition and, usually, a ready smile. She wasn’t smiling now.
“Of course you’re not making it up, ma’am,” her maid, Martha Dowling, replied. She put the tray she’d been carrying down on a table by the window and poured her mistress a cup of tea.
“I’m not usually in the habit of telling tales, am I?” Annabeth got up and began to pace the small sitting room.
“No, ma’am. Did Mrs. Cooksey actually say she thought you was lyin’?” Martha asked.
Annabeth stopped in front of the fireplace. “She didn’t
come right out and accuse me of making it up, but I could tell by the expression on her face that she didn’t take my concerns seriously.” Her shoulders slumped. “She thinks I’m getting fanciful. She said that unmarried women get funny ideas in their heads when they get to be my age.”
“That’s the silliest bit of nonsense I’ve ever heard,” Martha snorted, handing the tea to her mistress. “You’re one of the most sensible people I’ve ever met.” She wasn’t at all afraid of being reprimanded for her bluntness. Unlike most women of her class, Miss Gentry wasn’t one to get annoyed over an honest answer.
“But it wasn’t just Louisa,” Annabeth wailed. She put the tea down on the mantel and began pacing again. “It was Reverend Cooksey, too. Now that the fuss about Miranda finding that body has died down, he thinks I miss being the center of attention.”
“That’s even sillier than Mrs. Cooksey’s notion that you’re getting strange fancies. It weren’t your fault Miranda dug up that corpse. You didn’t ask all them newspapers to interview you and put your name in the papers.” Martha shook her head in disgust. She thought both the Cookseys fools. “I don’t mean to be steppin’ out of my place, ma’am, but you need help. You’ve almost been run down by a carriage, clouted on the head with a load of flyin’ bricks, and someone’s even tried to poison you. And that’s just been in the last two weeks. You can’t go on like this, ma’am. Whoever’s doin’ all this is goin’ to get lucky soon and you’re goin’ to end up pushing up daisies.”
“You believe me, then?” Annabeth asked quietly. “You don’t think I’m making things up to get attention or that it’s all my imagination?”
“Of course I believe you, ma’am,” Martha replied. “I was there when them bricks come topplin’ off the top of the garden wall and I was there when poor Miranda
keeled over after she ate part of your scone. Good thing she didn’t take more than a bite or she’d be a goner.”
Annabeth shuddered. “That was a dreadful day.” She glanced at the bloodhound. Miranda was lying in a shaft of sunlight streaming in through the lace curtains, enjoying the warm September sunshine.
“You’ll not get any argument from me, ma’am. Pardon the expression, but poor Miranda was as sick as a dog. Of course, she
a dog, but she did look pitiful.”
Hearing her name bandied about, Miranda raised her head and looked at the two women.
“We’ve got to do something, ma’am,” Martha continued earnestly, “and we must do it quickly.”
“You think I ought to go to the police?” Annabeth picked up her teacup and took a quick sip.
“That’ll not do any good without proof, ma’am. If your own family won’t believe you, you don’t have much chance of convincin’ the coppers.”
“Then I don’t see what I can do.” Annabeth sighed heavily. “It’s hopeless. I was so looking forward to moving into my new home, too. Now it appears as if I ought to move away, far away. Then maybe whoever is trying to kill me will give up.”
Martha, being from a far less protected class than Miss Gentry, knew better than that. “’Course they won’t, they’ll just follow you. Mark my words, ma’am, if someone’s wantin’ to do you in, they’ll only stop if you’re six feet under or if you catch ’em first.”