Death Is Magical ePUB
The death of a drugged thoroughbred and its jockey in England are tied to animal deaths in the little tourist town of Lodgepole, Montana. The deaths appear to be ritualistic, and Hugh Winslow’s and Sheriff Beatrice Kelley’s fears of human deaths to follow come true.
Several suspects fit the profile of the deranged killer who mutilates with surgical skill and marks the remains with occult symbols. But why would someone want to kill harmless, old Joan Thackery? And why did her neighbor toss her old surgical tools in the river? True, the new veterinarian in town is handsome and charming, but he does have that mysterious aura about him.
Perhaps the former town mystic, Asatru, given more credit than was her due for townsfolk’s misfortunes, should be consulted. Maybe she’s forgiven them all for running her out of town a few years back.
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Sensuality rating: 0
Cover Art by Blaise Kilgallen
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Dr. Humphrey Downings leaned forward, his arms resting on the top rail of the fence. “Quite,” he said aloud as he pictured how the others must see him in his riding boots, jodhpurs, and tweed jacket. “Indeed.”
Everything was, of course, above average and well-tailored, but never to the point where it might evoke questions. He squinted against the sun toward the track, the din of the crowd behind him. Really just a formality. The deal was already done. He’d cleverly sent old Scotty on an errand to check the swollen, right fetlock of My Lady’s Luck. Only a matter of a few moments now.
So he leaned forward in contemplation and relaxation, a contrast to the anxious and excited spectators in the stands. Poor fools, thought he. Alone now in the paddock, the contenders and their equine sidekicks gone, the jockeys and their hangers-on either mounted or having rushed to place their bets, he watched with a knowing smile as Sister Anna’s Baby reared back in the starting gate.
“Easy girl,” he whispered. The jockey leaned forward and bit her ear. She settled, the bell rang, and the gates flew open.
The thunder of the hooves was instantly swallowed by the wave of noise from the stands. Sister Anna’s Baby rushed to the inside rail behind Quintessential. “Run, you bloody bugger!” fell out from the wave. “My bloody arse!” dropped another. The first furlong saw Sister Anna’s Baby pull to the outside, a mere six inches from the leader’s side. A new and larger wave carried the noise from the crowd. The favorite was passed, and this new leader ran with wild abandon. Her lungs filled fast and pressed against her sides. Saliva flew from the bit. Her eyes burnt against the wind and sun and sand of the track. She couldn’t help herself. The mounted man-boy in the blue and gold colors did his best just to stay mounted. This was not a horse, but a wild beast. He was riding a tornado. He’d lost all control. He’d also lost much of his bladder.
The second furlong saw Sister Anna’s Baby five lengths ahead of the favored Quintessential. The angry crowd was not reticent. What the hell was this 18-to-1 odds doing out front? Dr. Downings lifted the hanging binoculars to his eyes. Pull her in, you bloomin’ fool. She’ll burn herself out. But the jockey just prayed for the end of the trauma. Sister Anna’s Baby stretched and kicked like there was no ground, no resistance. She fled in terror from herself, but she couldn’t escape.
Downings kept looking at her through his binoculars. She was gone. The crowd let loose a scream. He dropped his binoculars to see the horse skidding along the sand, its dead body offering no resistance. The jockey was thrown toward the middle of the track and mercifully knocked unconscious as the rapidly approaching horses were unable to avoid kicking in his skull and stomping on his internal organs with such force that they lay still in the dust of the sandy track as the last of the racers rounded the turn.
Before the ambulance could make it to the two bodies, the man was already in his car headed toward the unknown. “Damn bloody luck,” he snapped as he flicked on the air conditioner. “Damn bloody luck.”