Excerpt + Giveaway : Murder in Devon by Maggi Andersen – Int, 23 – 30 May

About the Author:

Maggi Andersen and her lawyer husband are empty nesters, living in the country outside Sydney, Australia, with their cat and the demanding wildlife. Parrots demand seed, possums demand fruit, and ducks visit from the stream at the bottom of the garden.

Andersen always felt she was meant to be a writer, but raising three children and studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree came first. Georgette Heyer has strongly influenced her historical romances. Her love of romantic suspense came from Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt.

Her current favorite writers are Elizabeth George and Sue Grafton. In her spare time, Maggi enjoys reading and watching movies. She swims and goes to the gym to keep fit. Her novel, Murder in Devon, will be released by Black Opal Books in Spring 2012.

Links: Website | Blog | Twitter

M.Andersen says: Hi, Livia, thanks for inviting me to your blog. Here’s an excerpt of Murder in Devon, where Casey Rowan, worried about Tessa’s safety, and not confident the police will solve Don’s murder quickly, has begun to investigate it herself.

“The house was an impressive post-modernist blend of old and new. In the center of the wide frontage stood a glossy black door with a heavy brass knocker. Box hedges acted as
sentries. Careful not to touch the door with her fingers, she slid the key into the lock and used it as leverage to push it open.
She called out, her words echoing through the dark hallway, and crept forward, her heart pounding. A sound like a trapped animal began to peel through the house. Abandoning any pretense of stealth, she flew down the hall, wildly searching for the alarm keyboard Tessa had told her about. She reefed open the door and punched in the numbers. Silence descended, and she sighed with relief. She shakily wiped the door handle of the cupboard with a tissue and turned to study the house.
The living areas were of an open-plan design. Through a wall of glass, a stone terrace at the rear of the building bordered a parterre hedge and gardens. A path led down to a marina bobbing on the mist-shrouded Thames. Night fell early in winter, so she would have to hurry. She couldn’t risk putting on lights.
She turned back to the sitting room. It had Le Courbusier style seats and chrome and glass everywhere, Bauhaus in the twenty-first century. On a wall at the far end of the room hung
a painting with brilliant red-orange oil on canvas. She moved closer and examined the signature. The name, Wassily Kandinsky, made her gasp and put out a tentative finger to touch the painted surface.
It was real.
Retracing her steps, she headed for the other wing of the house.
The drum of her heels on the parquet floor echoed through the hall. Something seemed very wrong. Don had been very successful in his chosen profession, but it wouldn’t have made him the millions of pounds required to buy this kind of luxury. Their previous house had been humble by comparison.
At what point did they start wanting so much more?
She pushed open the door to the main bedroom with her fist and stopped. The room had been ransacked, cupboard doors hung open and drawers overturned, their contents spread across the floor. She backed up against the wall, her eyes darting across the room.
When did this happen?
The scene sent her heart pounding so hard her ribs began to hurt. She ran for the front door. Sliding on the Persian carpet, she grabbed the doorway to stop herself from falling.
Stumbling into the back bedroom, she fell to a crouch and stared at the glass scattered across the floor. The window had been smashed from the outside.
She stayed crouched and tried to listen above the noisy pounding of her heart. Either all the noise she’d made sent someone scurrying for cover, or they’d left before she arrived.
The house was so silent she could hear the heating system kick on and the distant chug of a boat on the river.
Her heart slowed to its normal rhythm. Inside the house, nothing moved except her, and she retraced her steps to the study.
Don’s computer discs lay scattered over the desk. The computer was still on. She grabbed a pencil and used its rubber tip to scroll through his files. He had a backlog of information stored there. When she was just about to give up, a file simply headed Farrowham appeared in the computer’s recently opened documents. The name was familiar but the file was encoded.
The front door opened, and she jumped to her feet, her eyes sliding wildly across the room for somewhere to hide.
She’d only taken a few steps across the room before, DCI Carlisle appeared at the study door, with two other police officers standing behind him.
“Ms. Rowan,” he said, his words curt. “I thought I made myself perfectly clear. Do I have to put you behind bars to stop you from interfering in this investigation?”
“I just got here.” Casey felt her face grow hot. “The place has been ransacked. A window broken. Why would I do that? I have a key!”
“And how did you come by a key?”
“I borrowed them.”
Carlisle’s expression didn’t change. “And the alarm sequence?”
“Tessa wrote it in my diary when she asked me to housesit for her.” She fumbled in her bag and rifled through the pages. “See for yourself.”
He looked at the page she thrust at him but he didn’t seem satisfied.
“You’re threatening this case, Ms. Rowan. We have a right to know why you’re here.”
“Looking for anything unusual. I know Don. If something’s out of place, I’d know it. I can help.” She searched his face. He wasn’t buying it.
He walked over to the computer. “That’s debatable. So far, you’ve done nothing but mess up a potential crime scene. What have you touched?”
“I checked the computer files. I used the end of a pencil.”
Furious, he motioned to the other two police officers.
They left the room, and she listened to them move about the house. “We’re going to need to take a trip to the station. You don’t seem to realize you’re a suspect in a murder enquiry, and now I find you at a crime scene. The Devon police took your fingerprints, didn’t they?”
She nodded. “I didn’t know it was a crime scene. And I was careful. You won’t find my fingerprints here. When did this happen?”
His brows rose slightly. “Friday morning.”
“Friday! You might have mentioned it when we spoke earlier.”
Carlisle looked tired. He rubbed his hand over the beginnings of a four o’clock shadow, and a muscle worked in his cheek. His tie was loosened at the neck, the top button undone. “I guess I just didn’t realize I was supposed to keep you informed. Maybe a night in the cells will cool you down.”
“On what charge?” She went to brush past him, but he placed his hand against the wall, blocking her exit.
“Oh, I can come up with a great deal on you, Ms. Rowan. Tampering with a crime scene, for one.”
They studied each other. She drew breath, unsettled by his proximity, so close she caught the scent of leather and soap.
A heavy frown lodged between Carlisle’s eyebrows, his blue eyes frosty. “I’m still waiting for you to tell me what you’re doing here.”
“I have to help Tessa find out who killed Don.” Her voice shook, more from frustration than distress.
He straightened. “And you don’t trust the police to do that?”
“I don’t distrust the police, Inspector Carlisle.” She clasped her hands together, Don’s face swimming again into her vision. “I’ve lost one of my best friends. I’m frightened I’ll lose another.”
A long pause followed, and he studied her. Finally, he spoke. “We’ll postpone the interview for the moment, but if I find you’ve messed up, I’ll have you into the station faster than you can blink. If you really want this crime solved, don’t mess up the evidence—we need to do our job.”
He turned to leave. “Inspector Carlisle?”
He spun around and gave an audible sigh. “Yes, Ms. Rowan?”
“Does the word ‘Farrowham’ mean anything to you?”
“I don’t think so. Why?”
“I found it on Don’s computer. It’s an encoded file. The name sounded familiar, and I think it might be worth looking into.”
His eyes widened. “Do you think it’s a clue, Ms. Rowan?”
She smiled weakly. “Yes, perhaps.”
“We’ll see what we can do. Leave it to me.” After he left the room, she remembered the notes she’d taken from Tessa’s office. What would he have done if she’d told him? Think her mad, most probably, and she would be inclined to agree with him. “

{ Livia says: My pleasure! And reading this novel was my pleasure, too 😀 Big pleasure, in fact! }


1. Fill the form bellow to win 1 copy of Murder in Devon by Maggi Andersen ( romantic suspense/mystery, adult )
2. International giveaway. Australia resident may choose between a paperback or ebook copy, for everyone else it’s an ebook prize.
3. Giveaway ends of May 30. The winner will be announced in this post and also will be contacted by me through email. If no confirmation is received from then in 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
4. This is a book tour giveaway. Awards will be sent out after the tour is over (end of May). Should you not hear from the organizers about your prize, email me about it, I’ll look into it.
5. General giveaway rules apply.

Winner: Mary Preston.


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