Book 3 of the Bloodstone Series
Date Published: February 28, 2020
Publisher: Books to Go Now
The killer whispered-“A pretty damsel...worth a pretty
A veteran, Detective Rudyard Bloodstone has fought a brutal
battle and witnessed war horrors that haunt his nightmares. Now one of those
horrors has followed him home from Africa.
A vicious predator, the Cape cobra, can kill a man in thirty
minutes. A suspect using the snake as a weapon in robberies is terrorizing
When the crimes escalate into murder, a victim’s daughter,
Honoria Underhill, becomes the focus of the killer. After several attempts on
her life, Scotland Yard threatens to take over the high profile case. With few
leads to follow, Bloodstone and his partner must now fight department politics
and catch the killer before Underhill becomes another murder victim.
Read an Excerpt
“We have an unusual robbery case where the suspect
threatened the victims with a snake,” Ruddy explained. “We thought perhaps
you’re missing one of the snakes from your reptile house, a cape cobra to be
His eyes widened. “A Cape cobra, the African snake? You’re
“Yes. The female victim is from the Durban area and familiar
with them,” Ruddy said.
Packwood reached for the pipe in the desk ashtray and lit
it. The scent of cherry tobacco filled the air. Raising his hand to light the
pipe revealed C.D.P monogramed on his shirt cuff in pale blue. No garters or
cuff protection needed.
After several puffs on his pipe, the director said, “We have
a pair of alligators, several species of lizards, and turtles but no snakes at the
moment. We only ever had one, a king cobra. It came from a Maharajah as a gift
for the Queen. A snake from the hot subcontinent, it died in that terribly cold
winter we had two years ago. No surprise.”
“Do you know of anyone who traffics in selling exotic pets?”
“I can think of three in the city. I can’t speak for outside
London. The most active trafficker is Duff Dunbar. Duff’s what he goes by but I
don’t know his Christian name. Then there’s Felix Lennon although I’ve never
heard of him dealing with reptiles. He sells the big cats or their cubs for the
gentry to show off on their country estates. Silly practice. The animals never
live long. None of those people know how to take care of them. Sweet little
cubs turn into four-hundred pound meat eaters.”
Both Archie and Ruddy took notes as Packwood took a few more
Packwood continued, “The third is a fellow I only know as
Teddy, the badger man. I heard he got the name because he had a pet badger he
took everywhere. Scuttlebutt from my keepers is he died.”
“Can you tell us anything else that might help us locate
these men? Have you seen them and can by chance describe them?” Ruddy asked. If
so, he’d get his sketch pad and come right back.
“Sorry, no. I’ve never met any of the traffickers
Ruddy wondered why Packwood never encountered a trafficker.
The zoo seemed a natural client for them.
Archie beat him to the obvious questions. “Haven’t any of
them tried to sell the zoo an animal?”
“No. It’s my policy to not deal with them and they know
through word-of-mouth not to bother.”
“Why not? You have animals that die and need replaced, like
the zebra last fall,” Archie asked, remembering the death had made the news.
“How the animal being offered was handled in transport is
always suspect, which makes their good health doubtful. Our acquisitions are
made through reliable sources or from reliable source breeding pairs.”
“Or ones that come as gifts to the Queen,” Ruddy added.
“One does what one must for the monarchy,” Packwood said
with a resigned shrug.
If Packwood got his information from worker scuttlebutt,
Ruddy guessed some of them had contact with traffickers. “What about your
staffers who tend to the animals? Might there be some who know or have seen a
“I don’t know. I’ll ask at shift change when the most men
are available. Now that I think about it, I recall hearing awhile back that if
you go to Petticoat Lane on Sundays and ask for Duff, many of the vendors know
him. If you manage to find one trafficker, he’ll likely lead you to the others.
I imagine these types all know each other.”
Petticoat Lane...it figures, Ruddy thought. The place was a
hotbed of shady vendors selling stolen wares.
“Even if we don’t have luck locating this Duff, someone
there probably knows one or both of the others,” Archie said.
“Anyone who desires something not available through regular means, can discover a man or
woman there with other means to find it.” Ruddy put away his
notebook and stood. “You’ve been a great help, we appreciate it.”
Packwood and Archie rose too.
“I don’t know that my meager information is going to be all
that much help to you, but I hope so,” Packwood said and shook hands with Ruddy
“Whether we find a connection to the traders at Petticoat
Lane or not, you eliminated the zoo as a source of the animal,” Ruddy assured
the director. “And we have a start with the names of three possible suspects.
It’s a good day for us, sir.”
About the Author
I was raised in Chicago. My father, a history professor, and my mother, a
voracious reader passed on a love of history and books along with a love of
I am a retired police detective. After twenty-five years in law enforcement
I decided to pursue my dream of writing. I write a historical-time travel
romance series called Knights in Time and a historical suspense called The
I am also working on a world war two series of novella romances. The first
is Moonlight Serenade and currently available. The second is my work in
progress at the moment and will be titled, The Ack-Ack Girl.
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