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MURDER AT THE MENA HOUSE
MURDER AT THE MENA HOUSE

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Excerpt of Murder At Scottish Mensa by Clare O'Beara

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Mensa Mystery #2
Author Self-Published
September 2013
On Sale: August 27, 2013
Featuring: Cara Cassidy; Mike Fraser; Ricky Norton
ISBN: 0992638623
EAN: 9780992638627
Kindle: B00E78J0W0
e-Book
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Romance Suspense, Romance Contemporary

Also by Clare O'Beara:

A Dog For Lockdown, September 2020
e-Book
A Dozen Dogs Or So: New Edition, July 2020
e-Book
Dogs Of Every Day: New Edition, July 2020
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A Pony For Quarantine, June 2020
e-Book
Dining Out On Planet Mercury, August 2017
e-Book
Murder Against The Clock, September 2016
e-Book
Dining Out with the Gas Giants, September 2015
e-Book
Rodeo Finn, November 2014
e-Book
Show Jumping Team, September 2014
e-Book
The Prisoner In The Tower, September 2014
e-Book
Dining Out With The Ice Giants, September 2014
e-Book
The Prisoner In The Tower: Short Story & Big Cat Bones, September 2014
e-Book
Murder at Irish Mensa, September 2013
e-Book
Murder At Scottish Mensa, September 2013
e-Book
Murder At Kildare Mensa, September 2013
e-Book
Dining Out Around The Solar System, September 2013
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Murder At Wicklow Mensa, September 2013
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Murder at Dublin Mensa, September 2013
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Silks And Sins, August 2013
e-Book

Excerpt of Murder At Scottish Mensa by Clare O'Beara

Stirling Castle was decked with flowers at this time of year. A central lawn surrounded by rose beds scented the still evening air and hanging baskets of variously coloured annuals added gaiety and perfume. Tables were set up with wineglasses and all the Mensans were invited to help themselves, which Cara hadn't expected. Her white wine was cool and just as pleasantly fragrant as the garden. The members strolled around gaily, those who hadn't seen the castle yet taking the chance to explore, so that a kilted Highlander would suddenly stride into view or a monk, of which there were a few, pace gently alongside a castle servant and a pretty crofter's lass.

A tall dark–robed monk nodded to her.

"Peace be with you, sister." The accent was Boston or she couldn't have identified Brett Cheaper under his hood.

"So you haven't vowed to silence, brother," she said.

"Nor to abstention," he said, raising his glass of red.

Several people were taking photos and Cara produced her camera. Brett obligingly took a snap of her and Mike, then posed with hood down to reveal his cropped blond hair alongside Molly from Belfast, who wore a black and pink flowered dress with a matching head–dress. The evening sunlight was perfect for photos and the garden looked down over a tree–lined steep bank, so only birdsong was audible. The trees were handsome soft green broadleaves and the bank finally ended in a level grassy field with blonde cattle chewing far below the walls. Beyond the field was the first sign of anachronism with a road curving around the base of Stirling's height, then farmland, and further in the distance Cara noticed a few white windmills, turning steadily despite the lazy air.

"What a beautiful view. Of course there wouldn't have been trees there originally, would there," Cara said to Mike and Brett, who was quiet but fitting in well and had swapped some hilarious army tales with Mike.

"No," Mike assured her. "Why give your enemies cover?"

"Wipe out those trees and you'd have a perfect killing field," opined Brett. "Two machine guns would cover the lot." Nobody had asked him just what went on at the Norwegian base and he didn't discuss it, but he had visited SMAG before and Cara had heard gossip that he'd got on well with girls. She smiled as she thought that it was probably another pleasure the monk hadn't forgone. Mike looked at her quizzically; it was a little odd to smile at Brett's vision.

"I'm just thinking it's funny to talk of machine guns in a castle," she covered herself. "Would have been archers back in the day."

"Weapons are weapons and you use the best you have," Brett said. He placed his glass on the wall and made two fists, thumbs on top. "I think monks were sworn off weapons but don't worry, fair damsel, if the attacking, er, forces head this way I'm the base boxing champion."

"Good for you," Mike told him. "The forces were probably Scots or English at different periods so we'd better hope war doesn't break out with all these infiltrators."

"Including you," giggled Cara.

"Why spoil my dinner?"

Kirsty drew names from a hat to see who would sit at the top table placed crosswise in the rectangular stone banqueting hall. Mensa didn't go in for top tables but the banquet had to be in keeping with castle tradition. Mike and Cara were pleased that they weren't drawn because those at the top table could only talk to neighbours on each side whereas the others, at longer wooden tables placed lengthwise, could also talk to people opposite them. Cara felt delighted not to have to be the organiser; she could just enjoy the meal and good company. She noticed Linda saying something to Brett as they were all seating themselves. Linda's voice didn't carry and she looked as though she was joking. Brett intoned a solemn line.

"Alas my lady, I have taken a vow of poverty."

Cara observed that Linda didn't sit beside him.

Dinner was excellent with wine provided on the tables as well as water in goblets. Jugglers and harpers provided entertainment alongside and conversation flowed merrily. Soup was the starter. The main course was dishes of stewed beef and tureens of vegetables, and everyone helped themselves. Afterwards dishes of fresh fruit were placed on the tables.

"Very traditional, kiwi fruit," commented Cara as she bit into one.

"Strawberries are good," said Brett. "Great value, isn't it?"

"Yes, we didn't realise the wine was included."

Speeches were made, the principal of which was to thank Kirsty Preston for her efforts in organising the Weekend. The cheers were hearty and genuine.

"You know who I don't see, is the McGregors," Cara realised.

"True," said Mike. "Probably didn't want to bring a costume on top of everything else."

"They could have come anyway."

"Davie said he was quite flabbergasted by the zebra pate."

Excerpt from Murder At Scottish Mensa by Clare O'Beara
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