Having enjoyed the first of Vivian Conroy’s Cornish Castle Mystery books, Death Plays a Part, my review of which you can read here, I’m pleased to be taking part in the launch celebrations of the second in Vivian’s series, Rubies in the Roses.
Published by HQ Digital on 30th August 2017, Rubies in the Roses is available for purchase here.
Rubies in the Roses
Guinevere Evans has a dream summer job: cataloguing books at a castle on a tidal island off the coast of Cornwall. With her perky dachshund Dolly by her side she explores the island’s colourful history, tries fabulous local food and sees the gorgeous sunsets.
But when an old friend of her employer drops in, claiming a rare bejewelled wedding goblet is hidden in the castle gardens, strange events start to take place: several people turn up claiming they have a right to the elusive goblet, and a dead body is found on the beach.
An unfortunate accident, or does this death relate to the struggle for ownership of the goblet? Is there even a goblet?
Guinevere and Dolly dig in and discover plenty of motives to lie, steal and yes, maybe even kill. Can they prove what really happened to the victim and what became of the precious rubies that are at the heart of the mystery?
An Extract from Rubies in the Roses
Guinevere leafed through the yellowing pages to find the number indicated in the index. A scent of dust and dampness rose into her nose. Maybe this book hadn’t been touched for decades. Excitement rushed through her at the idea there might be something interesting hidden between its fading covers. A revelation about an artefact actually here on Cornisea Island.
‘Here it is. The goblet of Rose and Stars. A bejewelled wedding goblet.’
She scanned the explanation to paraphrase for Oliver. ‘These goblets were made from silver and decorated with precious stones if the buyer could afford it. The buyer could be a land owner or a dignitary in a community.’
‘Or the lord of a castle,’ Oliver supplied, gesturing around him with the cheese rasp.
Guinevere nodded. ‘Probably. The goblets were used at wedding ceremonies where both the groom and the bride drank from the goblet to symbolize their new life together. The goblet was kept in the family, passed on from generation to generation. This particular one got the designation of Rose and Stars because it was decorated with both rubies and diamonds.’
Dolly pricked her ears up as if she couldn’t wait to learn more about something so rare.
Guinevere read and paraphrased quickly, ‘It also had an engraved scene on a round emblem like part of the goblet depicting a couple drinking from a goblet. Its exact origins and age are unknown, but it’s taken to be medieval because of the clothing of the couple in the little scene. Oh, here – this is interesting.’
Oliver turned to her and leaned against the sink.
Guinevere ran her finger along the lines, taking in the detailed explanation before her. ‘The goblet is believed to have been stolen by a Lady Anne when she ran away from home to be with a man her parents didn’t approve of. They married, drank from the goblet, and then hid it somewhere in their keep.’
Oliver looked at her. ‘And that particular goblet is supposed to be hidden here? Why Cornisea? It could have been any keep. And Cornwall has a few.’
‘I know.’ Guinevere studied the piece in front of her. ‘It doesn’t give any specific details as to who the parties involved were or what keep was meant. It’s more like a fairy-tale story: once upon a time there was a priceless goblet and a lady ran away with it.’
‘Right. I don’t believe for one moment that the goblet of Rose and Stars ever existed. Let alone that it can be found here.’ Oliver slammed some sandwiches together and stacked them on a plate.
Guinevere stared down at the book, pursing her lips. ‘Wadencourt seems to believe that there is a connection between the goblet and Cornisea Island, or he wouldn’t be here.’
‘Or he’s trying to make himself interesting again.’ Oliver poured the hot water into the teapot. ‘Almost done. We’d better go up and see that Father and dear Gregory haven’t killed each other yet.’
Guinevere cringed at the word choice. ‘I thought they were friends.’
‘They were, but Wadencourt left here after a terrible row. I was just a kid so I have no idea what it was about. Later on it seemed they were on speaking terms again, but I have never found out what they fought about. My father has a great memory for injury.’
Guinevere nodded. ‘Let me take the sandwiches; you take the tea.’
She put the book on the tray beside the plate with sandwiches and left the kitchens.
Dolly came after her, salivating at the idea of treats.
About Vivian Conroy
Vivian Conroy discovered Agatha Christie at 13 and quickly devoured all Poirot and Miss Marple stories. Over time Lord Peter Wimsey and Brother Cadfael joined her favorite sleuths. Even more fun than reading was thinking up her own fog-filled alleys, missing heirs and priceless artefacts and so he own writing career began.
You can follow Vivian on Twitter @VivWrites.
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