Murder in Jamaica: An Anna Winters Cozy Mystery (Murder in Paradise Book 3)

BOOK: Murder in Jamaica: An Anna Winters Cozy Mystery (Murder in Paradise Book 3)
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Murder in Jamaica

 

Penelope Sotheby

 

~~~

Kindle Edition

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Penelope Sotheby

 

First published in 2015 by Jonmac Limited.

 

All rights reserved.

 

This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters and places, incidents are used entirely fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.

 

Kindle Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

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Sign up for this author's new release mailing list and receive a free copy of her very first novella
Murder At The Inn
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Other Books By The Author

 

 

Murder in Bermuda
(Book 1 in the "Murder in Paradise" series)

Murder in the Bahamas
(Book 2 in the "Murder in Paradise" series)

Murder in Barbados
(Book 4 in the "Murder in Paradise" series)

Murder in Aruba
(Book 5 in the "Murder in Paradise" series)

Murder at the Inn

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Anna Winters looked out over the people coming into the banquet room for the wedding reception. Even though she loved weddings and the celebrations that followed, there was a looming sense of dread that hung over these events. The last couple of celebrations she had planned and supervised had been surrounded by death.

A chill crawled down her spine and she shook it off. Running her hands through her red hair, she turned and noticed Pierre Bellerose across the way. Looking at him longingly with her cool blue eyes, she wondered if their relationship would ever get beyond the bumps and detours it seemed to keep taking.

On occasion, he would joke with her that, one day, she’d be Mrs. Anna Bellerose and they’d ride off into a golden sunset on a white horse. Today, he was intent on everything else and it gave Anna mixed messages. She tried to just focus on the event at hand. His five o’clock shadow still made her heart flutter though, making her wish things would eventually work out between the two of them.

Turning her attention away from him, she noticed Cassandra Wilson in the back of the room, flirting relentlessly with some of the male guests. Anna let out a loud sigh. Over the last few weeks, Cassandra has been going down a dark path and wasn’t the mousey and friendly girl she was when she first started working for the Grand Palatial. She was becoming more overtly flirtatious with men and shorter with Pauline and Anna.

“Cassandra, we have a job to do.” Anna signalled across the room.

She watched as Cassandra turned her head and gave her an icy glare from across the room. She could feel the soulless blue eyes piercing through her. Cassandra flipped her black hair and stiffly made her way toward Anna.

“I wouldn’t want to be you right now.” Pauline laughed from behind her.

Anna turned her gaze to her trusted friend, Pauline Baker. Her stern military look always made her hard for people to open up to, but Anna knew that underneath the rough exterior was a woman who was friendly and smarter than most people. In a way, Anna thought she could be a very pretty woman if she would let her blonde hair grow out from its short-cropped cut, especially because she’s seen several men over the years get lost in Pauline’s smoky green eyes.

“She’ll be fine. She knows we are here to work.” Anna replied with a smile.

“What?” Cassandra demanded as she approached Anna. “I didn’t think I was bothering anyone talking to those guys.”

“We are here to work right now.” Anna said. “After the reception, if you want to meet up with them, it won't be a problem. But right now, you’re on my time and we have a show to run.”

“You’re worried someone else is going to die.” Cassandra sneered. “So you are keeping us all on a tight leash in the hopes no one does.”

“Well, I’d be very concerned eating anything you served me.” Pauline shrugged.

“Knock it off, you two.” Anna warned. “We are here to run the show, not to fight with each other and cause a scene. No one is going to die today. I won’t allow it. Now, let’s get the ackee and salt fish starters out. Okay?”

Like a finely tuned engine, the four arranged the wait staff to deliver the meals. For the 68 guests in attendance, the hotel had 34 staff members on hand to create an elaborate presentation for the guests. Each carried a set of fine white plates with painted rose petals under sterling silver cloche domes. The group marched and swirled among the tables with perfection and Anna watched carefully to be sure no one was out of time or made a misstep along the way. The swirls and pivots were precise and on cue.

With each individual in place, the team set the dishes in front of their respective people. Anna watched intently and counted to three and watched as the cloches were removed from the plates. Everyone in the room thundered in applause and the staff left the banquet hall and returned to the kitchen to prepare for the next course.

Anna felt a hint of relief as she watched people smile and laugh about the presentation and close their eyes, savoring the bites of food.

“You did well. Harvery and I are very pleased with our wedding is going so far.” a voice replied.

Anna turned and saw Lucy O’Sullivan with a smile on her face. The young woman was in her mid-twenties with chocolate brown hair and shimmering blue eyes. A smile perpetually on her face, Anna enjoyed talking to the woman.

“Thank you.” Anna smiled and nodded.

Sliding her hands onto Anna’s, Lucy began to rub them.

“If there is ever anything you need help with, I’d love to repay you.” Lucy replied.

Anna smiled and nodded, gently pulling her hands back.

“Thank you for that.” Anna nodded. “My reward is the knowledge that your wedding reception went on without a hitch. You should go enjoy your food before the next course arrives.”

With that, Anna turned and saw Pauline shaking her head.

“What was that?” Pauline asked.

“She was just thanking me for the job we did.” Anna replied. “She did hang on a little longer than I would have liked.”

“I wouldn’t worry about it.” Pauline shrugged. “We did a killer job with the presentation though. I didn’t think we’d pull it off.”

“Did you have to use the word killer?” Anna laughed. “But it does seem that, this time, there won’t be any surprises.”

“Well, we can hope at any rate.” Pauline smiled. “I just hope the Kobe beef is as well received in a bit.”

“I think they’ll like it.” Anna replied. “I don’t foresee any problems. We have the best chefs in Jamaica working on these dishes.”

“There is still a sense of dread as we watch and wait, isn’t there?” Pauline sighed. “I have an uneasy feeling something will happen.”

“So do I.” Anna whispered. “What if the last two murders weren’t coincidences? I mean, it does seem as though death is following us.”

Anna turned her head for a moment and noticed two of the guests sitting next to each other, grasping at their throats. She turned to look at Pauline, who had a concerned look on her face.

“What’s wrong, Anna?” Pauline asked.

All Anna could do was turn her head and point at two men who were now standing up from a table, pushing it over, their saliva foaming and dripping from their mouths. Others in the room started to notice and began screaming in terror.

“No.” Anna whimpered. “Not again.”

The man on the right fell to the floor and landed with a sickening thud. The other man’s mouth opened and Anna noticed his tongue was a deep shade of blue. He then fell onto the other man. Both bodies twitched for a few moments before they lay still.

Anna could feel her heart beating against her ribs as the world around her slowed to a crawl. Each second ticked slower than the last as she watched people rushing past her. Guests were spitting out food. A few people tried to perform CPR on the men while someone else in the distance was calling for emergency services. But all Anna could do was stare at the men on the floor, knowing what would happen.

Pauline grabbed her and pulled her into her chest to comfort and steady her. Anna could feel the tears spill from her eyes. She didn’t want to go through all of this again. The investigation, the concern that someone she knew could be the killer. It was all overwhelming. Pushing back from Pauline’s arms, she attempted to regain her composure.

The doors to the ballroom flew open and a swarm of police and paramedics rushed into the room. The police took control of the crowd, keeping everyone at bay. The paramedics attempted to resuscitate the men, to no avail. Anna noticed that ackee was lying on the floor next to the heads of the two dead men and so that must have been the vehicle for the poison this time around. The two were then put in body bags and removed from the room as the police had people sit down and started taking their statements.

All Anna could do was watch helplessly and wait for the visit she knew she would be getting very soon. She knew how it would go and what would transpire. Turning her head, she watched as Antonio Puccio stormed in through the door.

His face enraged and bright red, his eyes found Anna and he stormed through the room toward her.

“How did I know this would happen again?” he shouted, spit spraying from his mouth. “Are you killing our guests?” the man screamed. “It seems very strange that three out of three events you hosted had someone die. I am at the point that I just want to fire you and be done with it already!”

“Now, Mr. Puccio.” Pauline began. “Anna proved twice that we weren’t responsible for the killings. She found the actual killer and helped spare the name of the Grand Palatial.”

“Then if she wants to keep her job, she better prove we are innocent again.” the man hissed. “If it turns out that a member of your staff killed these men. I will personally hold you accountable, Anna. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, sir.” Anna whispered.

With that, Mr. Puccio rushed out of out the room, throwing his hands around in a rage.

“So, where do you want to begin this time?” Pauline asked with a weak smile.

“Did you have to get me sucked into investigating this murder?” Anna demanded. “I got lucky once, the second time, it was a team effort. I don’t think I can get lucky a third time.”

“Maybe you don’t need to worry about that.” Pauline smiled. “You can’t lose me. Plus, there’s a good chance the killer won’t know how incredibly smart you are. You’ll have an edge.”

“Or I’ll have yet another person pulling a gun on me.” Anna sighed. “I swear, it doesn’t ever get any easier.”

“We’ll make it a point to avoid that for certain.” Pauline said. “So, what do you want to do?”

Anna raised her hands and motioned for Cassandra and Pierre to come over.

“What now?” Cassandra asked.

“Let her talk.” Pierre snapped.

“Pierre, keep things quiet in the kitchen and make certain no more food gets out.” Anna began. “Cassandra, start cleaning up trays and keeping food out of the reach of others. Just make sure you cooperate with the police. Pauline and I are going to start snooping around and see what we can find out.”

“So, it will be like the last two times.” Cassandra rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”

“You could do us all a favor and just admit to being the killer.” Pauline offered.

“Stop it, you two.” Anna warned.

Pierre grabbed Cassandra’s hand to pull her away from the situation and Anna immediately felt a little jealous. Trying to ignore it, she turned to Pauline.

“I want you to start getting a feel for who the victims were. I don’t know their names and I know nothing about them. Find out what you can and I’ll find out what I can about the rest of the details.” Anna whispered.

“It’s like I am a secret agent.” Pauline smiled. “I can’t wait to take out the evil in the room. I just hope it’s Cassandra. I’d like to be rid of her for good.”

“I know you two don’t get along.” Anna replied. “But you need to stop saying those things. If a guest overhears that, they might get the wrong impression.”

Pauline shook her head and smiled, then took off to mingle with the guests. As Anna watched her go, she couldn’t help but hope Pauline’s opinion of Cassandra was wrong and there wasn’t some evil lurking in her assistant that would be cause for more concern later on.

BOOK: Murder in Jamaica: An Anna Winters Cozy Mystery (Murder in Paradise Book 3)
5.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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