Free Book ‘WALKING INTO MURDER (The Professor Laura Morland Mystery Series)’

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Who would believe that an innocent walking trip in the English Cotswolds would include not just one murder but three, and even more hair-raising adventures? The intrepid American heroine of WALKING INTO MURDER, professor Laura Morland, would have scoffed at the idea. All she wanted was a few days of peace to recover from a humiliating (if not entirely unwelcome) divorce and a chance to test her new independence. That she certainly does; peace is another matter.

WALKING INTO MURDER is a light-hearted mystery with a delightful setting, an intriguing plot and distinctive characters headed by Laura Morland, a wonderfully appealing new amateur detective. It is part traditional English mystery, part middle-aged female sleuth of independent spirit who solves mysteries that confound the experts, part primer on the the battle between the sexes since Laura is an expert on gender, part rousing adventure. Laura is hardly Miss Marple – she is younger, more active, attractive, even romantically inclined, but the settings and characters are very British indeed.

It’s a wonderful read: spine-tingling escapes and confrontations on deserted moors contrast with peaceful interludes in England’s quaintest villages and most verdant countryside – and with some near-comic scenes of Laura’s inept but ultimately successful efforts to track down the villains even as she eludes their clutches. Mask-making, amateur theatrics, underground tunnels and an escape from a boarded-up cottage are all part of the action.

The adventure begins when Laura is invited to teach a seminar on gender issues in London. First she decides to embark on a solo walking trip on the Cotswold Way. The walk soon takes stormy turns. A man plummets out of the thick mist, hauls her into an embrace and begs her to masquerade as his wife. Escorted at gunpoint by an aristocratic Englishman to an ancient manor house, she is confronted by a roomful of eccentrics, any of whom could be the killer of the body she finds in a bedroom – a body that perversely keeps changing its identity. In fact, everyone in in this bizarre household seems to have multiple identities and multiple motivations, making it exceedingly difficult to determine who is telling the truth and even harder to ascertain who is on Laura’s side.

Curiosity is Laura’s dominant trait and she delves into the mystery with possibly unwise abandon. She is determined to unmask the murderer – and to get the best of her alternately charming and irritating would-be husband, to whom she is undeniably attracted. She soon discovers that her fund of scholarly knowledge about male/female relationships is of little help in dealing with a man who refuses to answer her questions, appears to be having a steamy affair with the titled Lady of the house, and who increasingly seems the most likely candidate for murderer. Complicating matters further is his fraught relationship with Laura’s able assistant in crime-detection, a fiery, free-spirited runaway who lives in the woods.

As Laura probes deeper, the efforts of the villains to silence her become more frantic and her strategies to evade them more ingenious. With total disregard for the escalating danger, she vows to outwit them all. And she does. In a final dramatic – and totally unexpected – scene, she zeroes in on the killer, or it might be more accurate to say the murderer zeroes in on her.

Joan Dahr Lambert is the author of CIRCLES OF STONE, a prehistoric novel told through the eyes of three women who became leaders of their tribes, and published by Simon & Schuster in 1997 & 1999. Lambert has written two other prehistoric novels, a novel about wolves for children and a novella, as well as the first two books in the Laura Morland series. The second, BABES IN THE BATHS, will be out soon. Like may published authors, she has decided to try self-publishing. All of her books will soon appear on Kindle and on other on-line venues.



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