The Bookshop Detective is an exciting mystery by Jan Ellis that is sure to grab all your attention and not let go till you finish it.
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Here is an extract from this hooking book.
The Bookshop Detective
Bookseller Eleanor Mace receives an invitation from the eccentric owner of Combemouth Manor, Joshua Pinkham, to value his collection. In the library, she makes an exciting discovery…
Extracted from Chapter 23 Combemouth Manor
There were sliding library ladders that could be moved around the room and Joshua brought them over to one end of the back wall so Eleanor could reach the high shelves.
These were thick with dust and assorted mummified insects, so she was relieved she’d brought something to cover her hair.
During the morning, Eleanor gradually moved across the shelves, extracting books, caressing their bindings and carefully lifting fine sheets of paper to admire the illustrations. In the few gaps between books she found a motley array of objects.
Once she had the strange sensation of being watched and found herself eye to glass eye with a stuffed stoat bearing a distinct resemblance to Clarence. She turned away from the creature’s melancholy gaze with a start.
Someone in the family had clearly had a thing for taxidermy: on the mantelpiece was a glass case containing a number of baby rabbits in Victorian costume arranged around a tea table.
Below her, Joshua had come back into the room and was sitting in a leather armchair watching her with interest.
It was harder work than Eleanor had anticipated, climbing up and down the ladders to take photographs and make notes, but she was enjoying herself despite the cobwebs.
“You have some lovely books here, Joshua – even some first editions. I can tell you now this lot will be worth a few thousand pounds, but I’m making a separate list of the books I think you might want to keep in the family.”
Joshua made a grumbling noise that sounded rather like ‘bah-humbug’.
“Never mind family.”
“I expect you have nephews and nieces who would love to have these children’s books, for example?”
When there was no response, Eleanor came down the ladder, took off her gloves and wiped a hand across her grubby brow.
“Well, I have to go now, but I’ll be back tomorrow to carry on.”
“Very well. And don’t be late.”
* * *
The next day, Eleanor reached the middle section of the bookcase. She had cleared a long length of books about local flora and fauna, carrying them down to the table where she could take better photographs.
It was when she went to check out the bare patch of wall that she noticed something peculiar. She called Joshua as she backed down off the ladder, rubbing her dusty hands on her trousers.
“I think you should come and look at this.”
Joshua, who had been sitting reading, stood and approached, his face serious. Grasping the ladder he slowly climbed up two steps until he was at eye level with the empty shelf.
“What is it, missus? I don’t see nothing.”
Eleanor dragged over a heavy mahogany chair, slipped off her shoes and stood on it. “There,” she said, pointing at the wall.
In front of them, a small patch of bookcase was empty. It was only the glint of hinges on the left-hand side and an indentation on the right that revealed the wall was not solid.
“I think it’s a door.”
Joshua’s eyes opened wide with surprise then he put a finger into the indentation and pulled. It was indeed a door. Opening it, he reached into a cupboard and withdrew a red leather briefcase, which he handed to Eleanor to put on the table.
Next Joshua brought out a wooden box which he carried down the ladder and put next to the briefcase.
“Well, goodness me! What a surprise.”
Eleanor grinned broadly, expecting Joshua to be as excited as she was by their finds, but he said nothing.
She stood watching him in silence for what seemed like an age until the grandfather clock struck 4pm and Joshua looked down at Clarence, who was sitting on one frayed slipper pawing his ankle.
“Tea time.” Without another word, he went off to the scullery to feed the dog.
Enjoy the entire book right away! Check it out on Amazon available as The Bookshop Detective (The Bookshop by the Sea)