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A Campervan Bushman Mystery

Book 2


Arriving at the Barrington-Bowles manor estate in the picturesque Lake District of Northern England, Scott Chevalier and the crew are all set to film the next episode of the Campervan Bushman TV show.


Everything seems to be off to a flying start, with Scott set to get in some windsurfing on the lake.  But all that gets put on hold when they discover the body of another guest at the manor - that of celebrity gardener, Simon Sinclair - a man bristling with charm, ambition and good looks.


At first, it looks like Scott might be under the spotlight as a suspect, but was Sinclair killed by the infamous Lakes Killer, or is his murderer a lot closer to home?



Catch a PREVIEW BELOW, or download it NOW at the following stores,

and join Scott & the crew as they dive into the mystery at the manor...


 

PREVIEW Deathbed of Roses below...

CHAPTER 1


"Did you know," Dorian said with an air of authority as he looked over his clipboard, "that the meat from the Herdwick sheep here in the Lake District was served up to Queen Elizabeth the Second at her Coronation banquet back in 1953?"

Oh, God, no! Red sighed as he stood his video camera on its tripod outside Scott's campervan.  Not another oh-so-interesting fact marathon from our beloved director!

"Fair dinkum!" Scott said as he stepped out of the side door of his campervan and onto the grass, ready for a morning of being filmed windsurfing down on the stunning blue lake nearby.  The top half of his wetsuit was off and hung over the top of his legs, leaving his toned and tanned bare chest on show, adorned with a simple shark's-tooth necklace given to him by his father when he was young.  "And did she like it?"

Dorian tucked the clipboard under an arm and frowned.  "I'm sorry?"

"You know, the mutton – did the Queen enjoy eating it at this coronation of hers?...  I mean, just because they served it up to her didn't mean she liked it, eh?"

"Hey, Scott's got a point there," Red chimed in.  "I mean, just what does the Queen do if she doesn't like the food her servants dish up to her?  Spit it into a tissue and stuff it in her pocket so she can chuck it away later?"

"…Or maybe she slips it to those corgis of hers under the table – y'know, kind of on the sly, like," Scott added with a smile.

Dorian let out a huff, adjusting his burgundy cravat.  "Well, as her ancestor, Queen Victoria, would say, We are not amused!"  He looked down at his watch, trying to forget that, not for the first time in his long career in the film-making industry, was he being forced to tolerate uncouth coworkers.  Some people just have no sense of decorum.

Scott and Red exchanged glances and rolled their eyes.

"Hmm… I wonder where Penny's got to…" Dorian said, thinking he'd feel better once he had someone around who had a little more sense.  Penny might be in her early twenties, about the same age as Scott and Red, but she was a darned sight more mature, that was certain, he thought.  Trying to keep the two lads in check seemed nigh on impossible.

Oh, well, Dorian thought, I'm only here temporarily.  After Penny's mother had been killed barely two weeks ago, Frank, the owner of their little production company, had asked him to step in at short notice to fill her boots as director and team coordinator of the Campervan Bushman TV show.  They only had another five episodes of the show to film, thought Dorian, but getting someone in to take his place couldn't come fast enough.  What heaven it would be to get back to London, working as Frank's assistant again – and away from youngsters who he felt he had to babysit.

"It's not like Penny to be late normally," Red said.  "Maybe she overslept."

"Yes, well, that oaf of a celebrity gardener, Simon Sinclair, did seem to monopolise her time after dinner last night," Dorian said dismissively.  "If he kept her up all evening talking about himself, she may well have slipped into a coma by now.  The man's full of his own self-importance.  I really don't see what women see in the fellow."

"Well, she's also been through a lot lately, what with her mum dying and all," Red said, ignoring Dorian's rant.

"Yeah, I'm just glad Frank saw sense and made her take that extra week off when he saw what she was like at the funeral," Scott said.  "I know it's mucked up the filming schedule a bit, but she wouldna taken a break unless he made her."

Although Penny came across as the strong and determined type, it was obvious to all that she needed someone to rein her in sometimes.  Soldiering on after such a traumatic event wasn't always the best policy.  In fact, it wasn't until the funeral service, with friends and family giving her reassuring hugs, that the feelings she'd kept bottled up inside since her mother had died were able to come out.  And, once the wake was over, the tears finally tumbled in buckets – many of them onto Scott's shoulder.

"Hmm…"  Dorian frowned.  He realised with some concern that they were right – and was somewhat taken aback at their hidden capacity for depth.  Perhaps they weren't quite as immature as he'd pegged them to be.

"Ah, here she comes," Dorian smiled, seeing Penny in the distance carrying a boom microphone as she trudged down from the manor house across the grass wearing sturdy walking boots.  Despite the good weather upon their arrival at the Barrington-Bowles estate the day before, it had rained during the early hours of the night, leaving the ground a little soggy.

"For goodness' sake, cover yourself up, man!" Dorian said as he glanced back at Scott, who still had his wetsuit folded down.

Scott raised an eyebrow.  "I thought the viewers liked a bit o' bare flesh – according to our glorious leader, Frank, anyway," he countered.

"That may be so, but save it for the camera.  I doubt Penny wants to be accosted by your naked form this early in the morning."

"Oh, I dunno," he teased, Dorian trying to keep his annoyance in check.  Scott acquiesced and pulled on the top half of his wetsuit, thinking that the nickname of 'old fossil' he'd given to Dorian fit just right!  Talk about being old-fashioned.  Scott might be an ex-model, but he was pretty sure the sight of his torso wasn't going to turn Penny into some kind of babbling idiot while they were filming.  In fact, if anything, the opposite seemed more true, Scott thought.  Unlike some of the women he'd known back in his Australian homeland, Penny seemed to be the sort who had her own mind and didn't want to know him just for his good looks.

From the moment he met Penny, he'd felt a spark, but she was set on playing the "I don't date people I work with – let's just be friends" card.  Still, Scott was an optimist by nature – all surfers were, he reckoned – so he hadn't totally given up hope.  Besides, with her mother's death so fresh, he realised, she had more important things on her mind right now.

If nothing else, Scott had been able to deliver on the "let's be friends" part of the deal by being there for Penny after the funeral.  And maybe one day not too far off she'd come round, he thought.  After all, she had taken up his invitation to come down to his campervan the night before for a nightcap, so maybe his charm was working more than he realised.  Probably best not to mention it to Dorian, though, he thought.  The guy'd probably have a fit.

Scott zipped up his wetsuit, wandered round to the side of the campervan and breathed in the fresh morning air, laced with the scent of pine trees to the rear.  His eye followed the line of trees which briefly followed a path along the side of Lake Conimere before entering into the woods.  It formed a great visual backdrop to the campervan when filming for the TV show – even if it was Dorian's idea to park it there.  He couldn't have picked a better spot himself, he admitted.

Just then, Scott thought he saw movement and narrowed his eyes, scanning the edge of the woods.  Then he spotted something and his eyes flew open with excitement.  A young deer, foraging.

He stepped back to Red and gave him a prompt tap on the shoulder.  He spun round to see Scott silently pointing and beckoning.  Quick!  Bring your camera! he seemed to be saying.  Red creased his brow as Scott whipped back round the side of the camper.  What on earth's he up to?

Red glanced back at Dorian to see him throwing a smile in Penny's direction.  What the heck!  Dorian won't miss me for a minute, he thought, following on behind Scott who was now moving like some ninja on a stealth mission towards the trees.

"What…?" Red started to say as he caught up with Scott.  Scott swiftly raised a finger to his lips to hush him then pointed towards the woods.  Red squinted.  He thought he spotted something – a dash of white? – but then it was gone.

"Quick!  It's gettin' away!" Scott tried to whisper, tugging at the sleeve of Red's black and red polo shirt, urging him on.  Scott moved swiftly in a semi-crouch along the path, then suddenly jabbed a finger.  Red turned his head in the direction to see the white tail of a small deer as it sprang away into the depths of the darkening woods.

They sped along the path in hot pursuit, but as they entered the forest, it was clear they weren't going to catch up with it.  There was too much dark undergrowth up ahead and the deer was just too quick and agile.

Scott came to a stop where a tree had fallen down and was blocking the path.  Red soon caught up with him, glad that Scott had finally stopped running.  I'm seriously out of shape, he thought, trying to catch his breath.

"Looks like we lost the deer," Scott said.

"Well, I'm not sure how good the footage would've been with it being so dark in here, anyway," he shrugged, looking around and seeing that the only source of light came through the trees on the lake side to the right.

"Hey, what's that?" Red said, noticing something bright red down on the rocks, just past the fallen tree.

Scott creased his brow as he looked in the direction, stepping over the tree trunk to investigate.  Red followed, hefting his camera tripod up as he went.

Suddenly realising what he was seeing as he approached the patch of red, Scott sped up.  Jeez!  It was a body lying face down on the rocks at the side of the lake.  His heart quickened as he leapt down over the rocks, stooping to check for a pulse.  He might still be alive.

Red drew nearer, his eyes bulging in horror as Scott took the man's wrist.

"Christ, mate!" Scott said, looking back up at Red.  "He's dead!"

"Oh, God!  Dorian's going to…" Red gulped.

"Dorian's going to what?"

Red's head spun round to see Dorian standing above them, somewhat out of breath, with Penny following on a short way behind him.

Dorian's eyes moved from Red to Scott, and then down to the body at his side.  His breath stopped for a moment as he took in the enormity of the situation.

A moment later, Penny stepped out from behind him.  "What's going o…?" she began, but as she looked down, her throat caught.  She'd seen that red shirt before.  It belonged to Simon Sinclair, the celebrity gardener who was a guest at the estate.  And the shirt was the one he'd worn at dinner the night before.  She might not be able to see his face beneath his wet mop of dark hair, but there was no mistaking it was him.

Penny's face contorted and her hand flew to her mouth.  "Oh, my God!" she said in a half-whisper.  Yesterday, Simon Sinclair had seemed so full of life.  In fact, she was pretty sure he'd been flirting with her all evening, despite the fact he was married.  But now he was, quite literally, all washed up.

"I don't know what the hell's happened here, but he's gone," Scott said solemnly.  "I reckon we'd better call the cops."



*  *  *  *


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