You might think it’s strange, given that The Hitman and the Thief hasn’t even been published yet, but I’m already looking at my next release.
It will be an Andorra Pett adventure. The fourth full length mystery that she has to deal with and after her exploits on Mars, Earth and the space station, I’ve decided to give her a holiday.
At least to start with. As always there’s more going on under the surface and she soon has to do a little light sleuthing.
Once again, the brilliant Gill Trewick has come up with a great cover concept, so let me present Andorra Pett takes a Break.
It was billed as the trip of a lifetime. It was certainly that, but for a different reason altogether.
Yearning for peace and quiet with her partner, Derek, Andorra Pett heads home to the space mine off Saturn. Despite her good intentions, she soon gets dragged into the station’s politics, so it’s a relief when the chance of a holiday comes up.
All she has to do to get the trip of a lifetime is give a speech on the maiden voyage of the Solar Breeze, a new sort of cruise ship.
Its voyages around the solar system will be the must-have vacation. Once the great and the good have had a sneak preview, on a cruise taking in the delights of Venus and Mercury.
But nothing is ever simple in Andorra’s life. Things get really serious when the Solar Breeze is hijacked by eco-terrorists.
A trip around the sun will never be the same again.
The latest draft is currently with my editor, but I’ve run this extract through the spellchecker myself; so that I can give you a flavour of the story. We join Andorra and her partner Derek. They’re in their cabin, after her speech has caused a bit of a stir.
I woke with a jolt; I was sure that I’d heard a shout.
I nudged Derek, “Derek, what was that?”
“I don’t care,” he muttered, pulling the pillow over his head, “probably nothing.”
I dug him in the ribs, “listen,” there it was again, a high-pitched wail, turning into sobbing, like a wounded animal. And hammering, like someone was stuck inside a locked door.
Derek sat up, “you’re right,” he said, “it was a scream,” he looked at his watch, “it’s half one in the morning; let the crew deal with it, we’re on holiday.”
I got up and reached for my clothes, “we need to do something; I bet they’ve never had a murder on a luxury cruise ship before,” I said, pulling my jeans on.
“Andi, just leave it. I know you love solving mysteries but honestly, can’t you just pretend that nothing’s happening, just for a few days.”
“Someone’s hurt,” I said, “and I don’t know about you but I can’t just leave it.”
I dragged a tee-shirt over my head and fluffed my hair out, I was decent. “I’m taking a look,” I said. I went to the door. It was locked. Of course it was, I’d locked it myself, just a couple of hours ago. I flicked the catch and pulled. It was still locked.
“What is it now, why can’t you just give it up, it’s all gone to your head, just go back to sleep and the crew will sort it in the morning.”
“We’re locked in.”
“You dozy thing, there’s a catch under the handle.”
“I know, we’re still locked in.”
Now he was awake, he got up and tried the door. “You’re right,” he agreed, but there was no real interest. I was waiting for an apology but it looked like it would be a long wait.
“Oh well,” he eventually said, “that solves it, they’re probably broken. At least we’re safe from whatever’s happening outside. I’m going back to bed.”
Wasn’t he concerned? we were locked in this cabin and goodness knows what was going on. He started snoring, clearly he wasn’t.
I got undressed and got back into bed, but I couldn’t sleep. Something was not quite right, there was trouble brewing.
It all seemed to have gone quiet outside. The noises had stopped and all I could hear now was Derek snoring gently. I snuggled up next to him, in the morning there would probably be a perfectly logical explanation. Fee was probably fixing the locks now. Before I knew it, I was asleep again.
If everything goes according to plan, Andorra Pett takes a Break will be published later this year.
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