Authors: Dorothy Cannell
Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #Women Sleuths, #Cozy
“One of the year’s funniest and most
Cragstone House lacked a north tower, or the remnants of an ancient keep, so beloved of my beart in fiction. but in other ways it was splendidly suggestive of dark doings, fueled by unbridled passion. . . . I could picture it gobbling up normal-sized houses for breakfast and, like Oliver Twist, asking for more: just one small cottage . . . or maybe two . . . to keep things going until lunch.
ASKELL—THE FORMERLY PLUMP
girl turned Thin Woman and happily married mother of three—is also a sometime sleuth and a Gothic romance addict. When her husband’s young cousin, Ariel, turns up unexpectedly and begs Ellie to come to the Yorkshire moors to investigate some strange events at the house that her family has recently bought with their lottery winnings, Ellie can’t resist—especially since Cragstone House sounds like the delightfully musty manors she reads about in books
And so Ellie and her husban set off for Yorkshire, accompanied by their irrepressible housekeeper and co-conspirator in crime solving, Mrs Roxie Malloy, who happens to have a long-lost sister in the area.
Things at Cragstone House are even more dire than Ellie expected. It’s bad enough that the kinddly cook, Mrs. Cake, has suffered a mysterious fall down the stairs, and a visiting vicar has keeled over dead while drinking a cup of tea, but one of the neighbors turns out
to he Elbe’s husband’s glamorous old flame, whom Ellie finds more menacing than any cold-blooded killer. Ellie has always thought it would be wonderful to be the heroine of a Gothic romance, but now she’s beginning to wonder: Will she be able to solve the mystery and get out of Brontë country with her life, and her marriage, intact?
a mother of four, grandmother of ten, and owner ot a King Charles Spaniel, was born in England and moved to the United States when she was twenty. Alter living in Peoria, Illinois, for years, she and her husband recently moved to Belfast, Maine. Her first Ellie Haskell novel.
The Thin Woman
, was selected as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Twentieth Cenrury by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. This is her eleventh mystery featuring Ellie, whom
describes as “part Miss Marple, part modern British mum.”
JACKET DESIGN BY DAVID BALDEOSINGH ROTSTEIN
JACKET ILLUSTRATION BY TIM ZELTNER
JACKET HAND-LETTERING BY JOEL HOLLAND
Also in the Ellie Haskell Series
by Dorothy Cannell
The Thin Woman
The Widow’s Club
Mum’s the Word
How to Murder Your Mother-in-Law
The Spring Cleaning Murders
Trouble with Harriet
The Importance of Being Ernestine
ST. MARTIN’S MINOTAUR
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.
. Copyright © 2007 by Dorothy Cannell. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
Design by Kathryn Parise
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Withering heights / Dorothy Cannell.—1st ed.
1. Haskell, Ellie (Fictitious character)—Fiction. I. Title.
First Edition: April 2007
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
This book is for Master Jack, who invented the game Tree Fort versus Castle, and for the two princesses, Grace and Kate, who always cleverly escaped from the dungeon behind the sofa. With kind regards, from Mr. Small and Mrs. Tiny. And grumbling apologies from the Wicked Warlock.
he storm hurled itself against the blurred contours of the house like an angry sea. Thunder roared, lightning flared, and the wind moaned, subsiding for a moment, then whooshing back with renewed ferocity. Clouds drifted across the bruised and bloated sky. It was early afternoon, but it might well have been the dead of night, fit only for human beasts of prey and the shadowy vigils of unholy spirits denied respite beneath a sanctified churchyard earth.