Author: Bluette Matthey
Publisher: Blue Shutter Publishing
Genre: Travel Mystery
Outfitter Hardy Durkin and company are visiting the Black Forest area of Germany, staying in the guest wing of a local castle, Schloss Haeflin. In the midst of hiking the Black Forest, enjoying all things Swabian, and spending a day in Baden-Baden, the hikers find themselves at ground zero for coeds disappearing from the nearby University of Freiburg and foul play is suspected. Unresolved personal issues of several members of the group threaten the tour’s cohesion, and Hardy discovers the Baron, who owns the schloss, has stolen someone’s identity as well as his fortune. Ever the sleuth, Hardy untangles the web of deceit, madness, and murder in ‘The Black Forest Reckoning’.
The inside of Benta’s eyelids felt like sandpaper, her tongue was thick and dry. She fought to open her eyes but her lids were leaden. What a headache! As her aching body struggled to awake she became more and more aware of her surroundings and realized something was wrong. She couldn’t move her right arm; it was fast somehow. Her senses sent feedback to her brain. Hard surface. Damp. Musty-smelling air. Dreadfully wrong.
She was fully conscious now and her eyes flew open. Overhead the ceiling was vaulted and low near the walls and all were made of stacked stone. The floor was cobblestone littered with straw and cold to the touch. An iron link chain held her manacled right wrist fast to a large iron eye screw near the bottom of the wall. The skin on her wrist was already rubbed painfully raw from its harsh imprisonment. Was this a joke? A bad dream? It was difficult to see much in the tomb; shadows loomed everywhere.
Benta smelled the moldiness of old straw and was able to make out several bales stacked randomly nearby. She blinked her eyes, hoping for a change of scenery but it only got worse. Cruelly, a single light had been left burning so that when she turned onto her left side she faced an emaciated, dressed skeleton with straggles of filthy brown hair caked and tangled against its skull. The expression on the skull almost stopped her heart beating: it was the face of a death in torment. The lips were pulled back from the teeth, and the mouth was twisted open in one final, agonizing scream that no one had heard. As hers would be, too, she knew.
Bluette particularly loves to explore regions that are not on the “15 days in Europe” itineraries. She also enjoys little-known discoveries, such as the London Walks, in well-known areas. She firmly believes that walking and hiking bring her closer to the real life of any locale. Bluette maintains a list of hikes and pilgrimages throughout Europe for future exploration. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, faithful dog, and band of loving cats.
You can visit Bluette’s website at www.bluettematthey.com
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