An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody
by D.L. Gardner Genre: Paranormal Humor
Rockford Peadlebody dies in a train wreck while traveling with his family, (a rather dysfunctional lot of half-blood vampires) after a flood in Mississippi washes their home away. Once his brother Gerald, his wife Ginger, and son Raymond reach grandpa's estate in Ohio, they are surprised by the news that grandaddy Benjamin Peadlebody has also died. They are now heirs to the infamous Peadlebody manor and all its peculiarities, including the butler, a reserved, tattooed, muscle-man named Richard Cottlebone,
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.
Gerald and the family are at the manor while the attorney Ferguson is reading the will of after Gerald's father, (a pure blooded vampire's) mysterious death.
"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.
With a passion for a good wholesome story, Gardner dives into the adult and young adult fantasy genres. She is both a best selling author and an award winning illustrator who lives in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Dabbling in screenwriting, she's won screenings and a trophy for some of her film projects.
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.