After a woman is discovered in the Mill House Hotel, strangled with a silver necklace beside a bag filled with faux silver, gold and pearls, costume jewelry dealer Donald Black seems like the obvious suspect. But Lois knows Donald's wife, who runs a baker’s shop near the hotel, and can’t believe her husband could be a killer. Plus, Donald has an airtight alibi.
Nevertheless, Donald is no angel. It appears he’s running a pyramid scheme, and Lois’s mother is getting sucked in. Could the murder have anything to do with his unscrupulous business practices?
As Inspector Cowgill and Lois hope the bling may shine a light on the killer, the discovery of a second body on the old waterwheel in the hotel may be grist for the mill in solving the murder—if they can manage to catch the culprit without getting the runaround.
Suspicion at Seven is the latest in my Lois Meade Mystery series, and involves another murder hunt alongside Detective Inspector Hunter Cowgill. The inspiration for this story came to me one day when I was lunching in a restaurant in a converted water mill. I remembered as a child seeing the mill and all its workings and work people were covered with a layer of white. It looked then as if a gigantic flour sprinkler had dusted it ready for the oven!
During lunch, I watched the huge millwheel, glassed in for safety, an attraction for customers, going heavily round and round, dripping slimy green weed..... A plot, surely?
One for Lois Meade, who has become friendly with Aurora Black, an attractive baker from her shop opposite the mill, and it is on a pleasant summer day that the pair decide on lunch after a walk with Jemima, Lois's small terrier, across the water meadows.
Aurora is not entirely happily married to her husband Donald, since he has a wandering eye, and a mistress who helps him with his pyramid jewelery selling and other less innocent occupations. Aurora is also part of the business, and they have one precious daughter, Millie.
A recipe for disaster? The death of a woman in bed in the Mill Hotel is the start of a grim journey through suspicion and finally justice.
For this story, I had ready-made memories of childhood holidays with my Great Aunt Eliza in her village bakehouse in Lincolnshire. I can smell again the heavenly scent of bread baking and feel the heat of the big old stone oven!
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