Today I bring you an extract of Madalyn Morgan’s Old Cases, New Colors. This novel is part of the Dudley Green Investigations series. I hope you enjoy my post.
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Old Cases, New Colors Blurb
Sick of working in a world of spies and bureaucracy, Ena Green, nee Dudley, leaves the Home Office and starts her own investigating agency.Provided by Rachel’s Random Resources for Tour Use
Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to turn down.
While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.
Extract From Chapter 2
Intro: While preparing to open a new investigating agency, Ena’s old colleague Artie Mallory arrives. When Ena resigned from the Home Office Artie left to work for GCHQ. Artie now wants to work with Ena but isn’t happy about working in an office where the woman who Ena exposed as the mole at MI5 killed herself.
Walking around the edge of the room to the door, he said, ‘Isn’t it a bit… spooky being here, where Helen Crowther killed herself?’
‘Not at all.’ Ena took off her pinafore and draped it over the door of the cupboard she’d been cleaning. ‘I’ll finish in here when we get back,’ she said, skipping down the step from the kitchen and locking the office door behind her. ‘So,’ she said, ‘catching up with Artie in the foyer. ‘What do you think of the inside courtyard now it’s an entrance lobby?’
‘Much better. And,’ he said, opening a door on his left, ‘it’s good that you’ve made use of the old utility room?’
‘It’ll be a second office; somewhere where clients can speak confidentially. The big old store room is now a waiting room with a washroom and toilet.’ Ena pushed open the door between the main office and the second office, entered, and combed her hair in the mirror above the hand basin. Returning, she took her jacket from a coat stand by the door and put it on.
‘It’s looking good.’
‘Thank you, I think so too, and there isn’t much left to do down here. I know the work should have been finished before we advertised and by rights it would have been but the buildings along here are Listed buildings, which meant red tape. What with the HO causing endless delays, the work got put back and because I couldn’t afford to pay the builders to sit around drinking tea all day, they had to take another job. It wasn’t their fault they didn’t start work here on time. Anyway, they’ll be back tomorrow to finish down here and then they’ll go upstairs to help the chaps up there. By the time they’ve finished and the furniture’s in, it won’t look anything like it did when it was the Home Office’s cold case department.’
‘If you say so.’
‘I do! Besides, Henry and I got it for a song. No one wants to buy a property with sitting tenants, so we made the HO an offer thinking we’d wait for the couple upstairs to leave and in the meantime, I’d set up the investigation agency down here. But by the time the newspapers had finished making up ghoulish stories about the spy who was murdered at No, 8 Mercer Street and according to several eye witnesses who didn’t want to be named, had seen an apparition in white leave the building and walk the streets of Covent Garden–’
‘Which wasn’t true! Oh, Artie…’ Ena punched him playfully on the top of his arm. ‘But it put the wind up the young couple who lived upstairs and they did a moonlight flit.’ Ena laughed. ‘By then the Home Office, as owners of the property, had begun to attract a lot of attention and couldn’t wait to get rid of the place.’
‘There’s a rumour going around GCHQ that our old boss, Director Bentley, had a personal property portfolio paid for with Home Office money.’
‘That’s why the new director almost bit my hand off when I offered him half the amount the property was worth. I had to sign a disclaimer document to say I wouldn’t speak to the newspapers about the previous owners or its history – the spy who was the director of The Home Office or the mole at MI5, which I had no intention of doing anyway – so here I am.’
‘And you’re going to live in the flat upstairs?’
‘Eventually. There’s a lot of work to do yet, but 8a Mercer Street will one day in the near future be mine and Henry’s new home. The flat in Stockwell has been broken into so many times that I’m not comfortable there anymore.’ Ena kicked off her old tennis pumps and slipped her feet into a pair of court shoes. ‘It has bad memories for me.’
‘And this place hasn’t?’ Artie said with irony.
‘No, it hasn’t. I don’t feel the same way about Helen Crowther’s death as I do about Frieda Voight’s. I don’t care about Crowther, but Frieda… She’d been my work colleague and friend during the war. You know she came to see me at the flat in Stockwell on the night she committed suicide. I’ve often wondered whether if I’d done things differently that night, said something, perhaps I might have saved her.’ Ena picked up her handbag and left the cloakroom. ‘The flat in Stockwell isn’t home anymore,’ she said, thoughtfully. ‘I just don’t feel safe there.’
And you feel safe here with the ghost of Helen Crowther walking the corridors?’
Ena laughed and pushed him playfully towards the door. ‘I’m not superstitious and I don’t believe in ghosts. Besides, there aren’t any corridors.’
Artie made an O of his mouth and pulled a ghoulish face.
‘For goodness sake,’ she said, shaking her head in fun. ‘It isn’t the dead you have to worry about, it’s the living,’ she added, crossing the newly decorated lobby.
Artie pulled open the street door and screamed with fright.
About the Author – Madalyn Morgan
I was brought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the first time around. However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.
In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.
In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written nine novels. The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My current novel, Old Cases, New Colours, is a thriller/detective story set in 1960. I am writing Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.