Read She Shoots to Conquer Online

Authors: Dorothy Cannell

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #Women Sleuths, #Cozy

She Shoots to Conquer

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Praise for the Ellie Haskell mysteries by

DOROTHY CANNELL

She Shoots to Conquer

“If British cozy fans who have somehow missed the earlier books in Cannell’s endearing series give this one a try, they will soon be clamoring to read the rest . . . Charming.”


Booklist

“A delight . . . A satire on the gothic suspense novel,
She Shoots to Conquer
is also an engaging mystery, as the deft and talented Cannell proves again that hilarity and horror can meet.”


Richmond Times-Dispatch

Goodbye, Ms. Chips

“Engaging Ellie provides a peek at boarding-school charms and horrors while solving one of her more intriguing cases.”


Kirkus Reviews

“This humorous cozy is filled with sympathetic characters and an inside look at an English boarding school.”


Booklist

Withering Heights

“Cannell is a master of subtle wit and humorous asides that lift her cozies to great heights. Before the influx of writers trying to out-humor Janet Evanovich, there was Dorothy Cannell. Long may she write!”


Library Journal

Also in the Ellie Haskell Series

by Dorothy Cannell

The Thin Woman

The Widow’s Club

Mum’s the Word

Femmes Fatal

How to Murder Your Mother-in-Law

How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams

The Spring Cleaning Murders

The Trouble with Harriet

Bridesmaids Revisited

The Importance of Being Ernestine

Withering Heights

Goodbye, Ms. Chips

SHE SHOOTS
TO CONQUER

Dorothy Cannell

NOTE
: If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

 

 

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

SHE SHOOTS TO CONQUER

Copyright © 2009 by Dorothy Cannell.

All rights reserved.

For information address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

EAN: 978-0-312-38172-1

Printed in the United States of America

Minotaur Books edition / April 2009
St. Martin’s / Minotaur Paperbacks edition / April 2010

St. Martin’s Paperbacks are published by St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth
Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

10    9    8    7    6    5    4    3    2    1

For Andrew and Cosette Cannell, wishing you a world filled
with the magic of books. With love always from Granna.

Contents

Cover

Title

Copyright

Dedication

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

Epilogue

1


ometimes I am compelled to give Mother Nature a stern piece of my mind. That mid-September evening, I pointed out to her with all the authority I could muster (given my bulging eyes and closing throat) that dense fog was all well and good in the appropriate setting. I wouldn’t have said a word had I been snugly at home with Tobias the cat on my lap, a book and cup of cocoa to hand while Ben and the three children—nine-year-old twins Tam and Abbey and seven-year-old Rose—were cheerfully occupied nearby.

What I didn’t go for was sitting in a state of unbridled terror next to my equally terrified husband as he drove at an uncertain creep down an unfamiliar country road with visibility reduced to a couple of inches at best. We had exited the motorway about forty-five minutes earlier, planning to stop for an early dinner at a restaurant recommended to Ben by a fellow chef who had described the food as superb and well worth a detour.

Not only had we not found the Duck Pond Inn, we had gone twenty miles past the village of Little Woppstone before seeing a
signpost with its name on it; by which time it seemed wisest to press on into the wooly gray yonder. What road we were now on was a mystery. I prayed for a ditch into which we might slither and wait lopsidedly until things cleared. It had been ten minutes since we had experienced the small comfort of seeing red pinpricks of taillights ahead of us.

“You’re doing wonderfully,” I told Ben in a voice that wobbled, “so calm and steady.” An image I couldn’t hope to present with my long brown hair untidily escaping its coil and hands gripping my jacket collar.

His reply was a grunt which I deemed heroic and befitting his dark good looks. The poor darling was claustrophobic. He had to be desperately fighting down feelings of suffocation along with fear of an accident, but he still maintained that arresting tilt to his chin. Mrs. Malloy spoke from the backseat, causing me to jump. In my state of nerves, I’d forgotten all about her.

“Bugger of a night,” she said with unnecessary relish.

I was unable to pry my lips open to respond, but Ben nobly managed another grunt.

“Puts me in mind,” Mrs. Malloy went on, “of that ill-fated day when Semolina Gibbons got caught in the mist after saddling the master’s wild-eyed stallion and riding out onto the moor to seek life-saving information from the curate’s bedridden great-grandmother.”

In general, I am very fond of Roxie Malloy. She has been my household helper at Merlin’s Court since shortly after my marriage. The children count on her as one of the beloved certainties of life, and she and I have from time to time worked as a duo in amateur sleuthing. When Ben and I went to Yorkshire to stay with our relatives Tom and Betty Hopkins, we had been happy to take Mrs. Malloy to visit her sister and brother-in-law in the same village. We had deposited her with them a week ago and picked her back up that morning for our return home, where the children were being looked after by Ben’s parents, with help from my cousin Freddy who lives in a cottage on our grounds.

I knew immediately whom Mrs. Malloy meant when speaking of Semolina Gibbons. In addition to other common interests, she and I share an enthusiasm for novels written during what we grandly refer to as the Gothic Revival period of the 1970s. Doing so makes us both feel studious and intelligent. Indeed, we consider ourselves serious collectors of yellow-paged, dingy-covered paperbacks invariably displaying a spooky mansion as the background to a young woman with wind-lashed black hair standing on a rock. Whether it is always the same rock remains open to question—a topic we consider worthy of a doctoral thesis should either of us ever find the time to go up to Oxford and wander the halls of learning, brushing shoulders with tutors and dons and the fearfully clever young. Semolina was the beleaguered but valiant heroine of a recent acquisition titled
The Landcroft Legacy
, by Doris McCrackle. Okay, maybe such isn’t Literature in its purest form. But to the scoffers I make no apologies for what they may view as escapism. Not all of us can be swept away upon burying our noses in
The Subverted Subconscious
or
Principles of Parallel Pragmatism
.

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