If only I’d known what I was getting into when I bought that painting from the junk dealer in Edinburgh, I would have left it lying there on the floor where I found it.
After all, it wasn’t even in good shape. I recognized it as a painting by an old Scottish master, so I snapped it up before the junk shop owner knew what he had.
Och, that painting has brought no end of trouble for me and my wife, Sylvie.
Life in the village of Cauld Loch in the Scottish Highlands is good, or at least it was until Florian McDermott died under bizarre circumstances. He was a strange wee man and it’s downright eerie to think Sylvie and I may have been the last ones to see him alive.
Life for the two of us has spiraled downward since Florian’s death. We’ve gotten strange phone calls, an unexpected houseguest, and a very disturbing visit from a person who remains anonymous. It’s got to have something to do with that painting, but we don’t know what’s so special about it.
But we’ll find out, of that I’m sure.
The one bright spot since Florian’s death has been the invitation for me to show my paintings in a posh London gallery. Sylvie and I have made a vacation out of it and are staying in London for two weeks. She’s seeing the sights of one of the world’s most beautiful and storied cities while I work, but I don’t mind.
Come to think of it, Sylvie hasn’t been too specific about the places she’s visited while I’ve been working, but I’m sure she’s hitting all the high points. Och, she’ll show me the pictures when we get back to Cauld Loch. She’s a cracking photographer; she’ll choose the best photos and make prints of them to sell in our gallery.
Our time in London has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Sylvie and me, but I think we’re both ready to head back to our home in the Highlands. We miss the quiet of the village, the mountains and the loch, and our friends and family.
If only the authorities could catch the person responsible for Florian’s death, our lives could return to normal. We’re both under a lot of stress and I know Sylvie’s scared. But there’s something I need to talk to her about and if she’s not able to listen to me calmly and with an open heart, things may never be the same between us.
So much for life returning to “normal.”
You can read more about Seamus in Highland Peril, the second book in the “Malice” suspense series.
Trading the urban pace of Edinburgh for a tiny village overlooking a breathtaking blue loch was a great move for budding photographer Sylvie Carmichael and her artist husband, Seamus—until a dangerous crime obscures the view.
Sylvie’s bucolic life along the heather-covered moors of the Highlands is a world away from the hectic energy of the city. But then a London buyer is killed after purchasing a long-lost Scottish masterpiece from Seamus’s gallery—and the painting vanishes. As suspicion clouds their new life, and their relationship, Sylvie’s search for answers plunges her into an unsolved mystery dating back to Cromwellian Scotland through World War I and beyond. And as she moves closer to the truth, Sylvie is targeted by a murderer who’s after a treasure within a treasure that could rewrite history . . . and her own future.
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About the author
Amy M. Reade is the USA Today bestselling author of The Malice Series, consisting thus far of The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross. She has also written three standalone novels of gothic suspense: Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade.
Amy is a recovering attorney living in Southern New Jersey. She is active in community organizations and loves reading, cooking, and traveling when she’s not writing. She is currently working on three mystery novels.
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