An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody
by D.L. Gardner
Genre: Paranormal Humor
It seems fishy to Gerald that two untimely deaths in the family happened within a week. Yes, Rockford's demise was of his own doing, but Benjamin's? Perhaps the butler, knows more than he's letting on?
To prove himself worthy, since he failed to live up to old Benjamin's standards when he was alive, Gerald goes about to unravel the thread of Papa's death. No help comes from Ginger. She's too busy trying to un-vampire herself. And Raymond is in love, but not with his relatives. Gerald soon discovers solving a murder mystery meets with a stone cold reception.
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"Can we get this over with quickly?" Gerald asked, fanning himself, once with his hand and again with the edge of his scarf.
Ferguson began his discourse, a mouthful of legal jargon that took more than a patient's cry of time to deliver. Halfway through, Raymond raised his hand and without waiting to be called on, interrupted.
"Before you get into all that, why don't you just come out and say it? Uncle Gerald is the man getting the bucks, right? Can we get to the important issues? What does he have to do now? Sign papers? What?"
Ferguson looked up from his paperwork. "Mr. Gerald Peadlebody inherits the manor. Yes, he needs to sign the papers that I laid out for him on the kitchen table. He also inherits the manor's servant, Mr. Richard Cottlebone."
Gerald's eyes widened and he and Cottlebone exchanged glances. Raymond broke the tension with a hearty laugh. "That's ludicrous. How can you inherit a servant? Slavery was abolished a century ago, or thereabouts."
"Mr. Cottlebone had an eternal agreement with Benjamin Peadlebody. His room and board continue with the estate. He's here to stay."
Raymond laughed again, holding his hand over his mouth after Ginger made a gesture that his teeth were showing.
"Raymond, stop laughing. The man needs a place to live and good heavens there must be a hundred rooms in this house." Ginger pulled up the veil from her hat, offering a cordial smile to Mr. Cottlebone. With all the mirrors in the room Gerald wondered why she hadn't noticed her lipstick was smeared.
"Twenty-eight, is all, Mrs. Peadlebody," Cottlebone corrected.
"Cottlebone knows the manor inside out. He will be an asset to you, Gerald." Ferguson offered.
Gerald waved away any concern. "It's fine by me."
"I'm an excellent cook." Cottlebone assured him.
"Stupendous! Not that it makes much difference with my diet," Gerald said.
Ginger released an audible, "Tsk," most likely meant for Gerald only. Raymond moaned and Cottlebone winced.
She loves a tale that ignites imaginations, strengthens friendships, spurs courage and applauds honor. Though she targets her stories for young adults, her books are enjoyed by all ages.
D.L. Gardner is a columnist for the science fiction and fantasy publication Amazing Stories Magazine
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