“Nigel,” I yelled from the kitchen where I stood surrounded by random stacks of unopened moving boxes, “Remind me never to let you be in charge of labeling the boxes again. I have no idea where anything is!”
Nigel’s dark head popped into view from the dining room. “What’s wrong with my labeling?” he asked.
“Well, for starters I’m looking at seven different boxes, each with various misspellings of the word ‘miscellaneous.’ How am I to know where anything is?”
Nigel glanced around the cartons scattered throughout the gourmet kitchen. “I labeled the important stuff,” he said indicating one of the larger boxes on white marble counter top.
I rolled my eyes. “Nigel, marking which box contains the scotch isn’t labeling the important stuff.”
Nigel rolled his eyes. “Well, that’s crazy talk,” he said, “and only proves that you need a break. Luckily, I know just the cure,” he continued as he crossed the room toward the box of scotch. “And, thanks to my excellent labeling system, I know exactly where it is.” He quickly cut through the packing tape and poured out two glasses.
“Come on,” he said with a smile as he handed me one. “Moving day is supposed to be fun.”
“Says the man who grew up with servants,” I replied clinking my glass against his.
Nigel tipped his head in agreement. “That may have had something to do with it. But, don’t worry – we’ll get everything put away.” He draped his arm around my shoulders. “And when it’s all done, the house will be perfect.”
I leaned my head against him and took a sip of my drink. Nigel was right. The house was a modern Mediterranean with views of the city, the canyons, and the mountains. It was also exactly what we’d been looking for; spacious with plenty of room for entertaining, but not so much room that family might be tempted to overstay their welcome. As for the backyard, it was something out of a magazine. There was a spa, an outdoor kitchen, two terraced patios, and a pool. Our giant Bullmastiff, Skippy, was currently in the latter, happily floating on a raft.
“I know what will make you feel better,” Nigel said as he took my hand and threaded his fingers with mine. “The attic.”
I raised my eyebrow. “The attic?”
Nigel nodded as he began to pull me toward the stairs. “Remember last week when we played Never Have I Ever? And we both answered ‘Never’ to the attic question?”
I burst out laughing. “Are you serious?”
“Absolutely,” he answered, pulling down the access ladder. “Besides, you can’t tell me you’d rather unpack dishes.”
I glanced up at the ladder and then back at Nigel. “You have a point,” I conceded.
Nigel informed me he had much more than that.
It wasn’t until later that we noticed the cardboard boxes in the far corner. Covered in a thick layer of dust, and beginning to decompose, they’d at first resembled a pile of rags. Nigel pulled back the lid of one. Inside were upwards to one hundred cassette tapes; each labeled in the same childish handwriting; ‘A Winter’s Night Property of Danielle Samuels’.
“Holy shit,” Nigel said as he picked up one of the tapes. He looked up at me with wide eyes.
“Wait. A Winter’s Night?” I said. “As in the cult classic? Didn’t somebody die making that film?”
Nigel nodded. “Melanie Summers. She was cast as the lead but died of a drug overdose six weeks into filming.”
“I don’t understand. Who’s Danielle Samuels? And why would her videos be in our attic?”
“Don’t you remember the realtor telling us that Frank Samuels once owned this house?” Nigel asked as he pulled more tapes from the box. I nodded. “Well, Frank produced A Winter’s Night. I think he has a daughter.”
“So she could have made these tapes?” I asked.
“Only one way to find out,” Nigel said as he pulled me to my feet.
Unpacking would have to wait.
Killer Cocktail is the second book in the Nic & Nigel mystery series, published by Midnight Ink, May 2016.
Former detective Nic and well-heeled wag Nigel star in their own Hollywood whodunit
Walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards with a bow-tied Bullmastiff draws Nic and Nigel Martini plenty of attention from the press. But that’s nothing compared to the attention they receive at the A-list after party, when Hollywood royalty learn they’ve discovered behind-the-scenes footage from an acclaimed film that left one of its stars dead.
Returning home after the party, Nic and Nigel find their house in shambles and their employee DeDee Evans beaten within an inch of her life. And when the weapon used to pummel DeDee implicates a beloved actress, Nic and Nigel drink and banter their way into a modern-day version of a golden-age crime caper.
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About the author
Tracy Kiely, a Mary Higgins Clark finalist, is the author of the Jane Austen inspired mysteries Murder at Longbourn, Murder on the Bride’s Side, Murder Most Persuasive, and Murder Most Austen (St. Martins). Her latest series from Midnight Ink features Nic and Nigel Martini, a modern-day version of Dashiell Hammett’s iconic sleuthing duo. The first book, Murder with a Twist, came out May 2015. The second, Killer Cocktail, was released on May 8, 2016.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Killer Cocktail. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end May 24, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.