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“The Assassins’ Village” by Faith Mortimer

The Assassins’ Village” is a Mystery Novel by Faith Mortimer. Below is a synopsis:

The Assassins’ Village by the acclaimed author, Faith Mortimer, introduces, Diana Rivers, writer, sometime actor and amateur sleuth.

When an expatriate theatrical group gather to discuss their next play there will be murder. A blackmailer stalks their picturesque Cypriot village.

The group is riven with jealousies, rivalry, sexual tension and illicit affairs. Unbeknown to each other they all attempt to find solutions to their problems. Some believe it lies in murder. Can they find the blackmailer? And can they find that all important ‘little black book’ – the chronicle of their misdeeds.

A body is discovered and Diana turns detective to draw up a suspects list. After the police get involved one of the suspects is found hanged – is it another murder or suicide?

A visit to a villager’s home uncovers an ancient assassin’s device. Could this be the murder weapon? Is it possible that an assassin lives at the heart of this formerly peaceful and idyllic village?

Love, hate, murder and high drama all feature in this classic historical detective story. With a long list of suspects, some dramatic twists and the odd red herring, the reader is left guessing until the final curtain.

The Assassins’ Village has many 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon. In addition press reviewers include The Cyprus Weekly, Times of India, Grapevine, Flying Fish and The Hampshire Echo.

Faith has been kind enough to provide us with a sample from this story:

The Assassins' Village ecover
Cyprus. A Sunday in late August. Present day.

Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Macbeth. Act 1 Scene 1

If. Such a small word and yet… If only he had bothered to take a look at his actions. If he had cared one iota, maybe his life would not have been full of ego, lust, self-gratification and profligacy. Self-denial was unknown to him.

He awoke confused and disorientated, barely able to breathe, his throat obstructed. He heard a voice; soft and persistent, close to his ear. Struggling against the cotton wool seemingly stuffed in his brain, he forced open his eyes. The man squinted at the blinding light. He knew he was lying down. The agonising pain in his left leg intensified when he attempted to move it from its impossible angle. A pain as sharp as a new razor blade cut through him. He shrieked in alarm, realising his leg was broken.

The whispered voice spoke again. The man looked around him in sudden panic. Who and what was all this? And why couldn’t he function properly? He tried to speak, to answer the phantom voice, but his tongue couldn’t form the words. A sudden movement and a shadow fell across his face… Raising his head, his eyes widened as he remembered being pushed over the limestone cliff into the vineyard below. But that explained nothing. Struggling, the injured man raised himself into a sitting position to confront the shadow.

A firm hand, calloused and strong, pushed him back down. ‘Keep still. You can’t get up.’

The man recognised an accent. A trickle of blood rolled down between his dry, tortured lips and a thread of fear crept through him.

The shadow spoke in a rasping voice. ‘Soon you will see. You must pay for all you’ve done.’ The shadow hissed in his face. A breath that was hot and sour.

As the shadow bent closer the man gave a start and recoiled; he recognised his assailant. A deep chill spread through his gut despite the heat of the day. In terror, he fought at the cords binding his wrists. With desperation he cried out, spluttering through the soiled coarse cloth in his cheeks. The core of dread in his stomach spread like a foul growth of malignancy. His eyes pleaded mercy.

The shadow gave a laugh, shrill and mirthless. ‘Shall I forgive you? No. I think not. Never once have I seen you give kindness. You treat all like dogs at your feet. Well, you are dirt beneath mine.’

Abruptly the shadow withdrew and walked over to a low stonewall. It returned, carrying a pair of gloves and an old leather bag. The assailant drew on the gloves, before untying a thong at the neck of the receptacle. The man watched, beads of sweat sliding down his face, then he writhed in horror, as he realised what was being thrust before him. He twisted his head aside, gagging at the revolting sight; yelling deep in his throat. ‘No! No! Please! Oh God help me!’ His words were garbled and lost.

‘This is all your doing. Yours! Did you never think how you hurt me?’

As the victim stared with revulsion his throat gagged and he retched. Stomach churning, he felt a warmth spread beneath his loins. Screaming in panic he tried to pull away from the calm face of his attacker, only to realise that it was futile. The end, when it came, was swift, a thrust and a sharp twist. At first, there was no wound; then the blood flowed and grew like a blossom of deep red peonies spilling their petals to hiss upon the hot honey-coloured rock. Satisfied, the assassin bent down, removed the pretty blue scarab ring from the victim’s finger, placed it in the bag and walked away without another look.

But of course, this is a later scene – let the play begin…

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© 2011, Steven R. Drennon. All rights reserved.

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