Cover reveal and prologue! This is the first book in a series of cozy mysteries I have planned for 2019. Enjoy! ❤
Edna Baines had lived on the Island all her life. She knew the people who lived here and she also knew which ones were descended from magic…and which ones had no idea it existed.
Sitka Spruce Island had a unique location, on the edge of the United States border with Canada that ran through the San Juan Islands. As her father used to joke, it was a short hop and a swim to Canada. This made the Island a popular stop on ferry rides from Seattle and Anacortes, Washington to Victoria, B.C.
Of course, there were local legends of pirates, bootleggers and other adventurers, who had made use of the many coves along the south and east ends of the Island over the years. This became more difficult as people started buying up the large tracts of undeveloped land in the 1960s. Unlike many of the San Juan Islands, this had more open spaces than most.
After a meteor hit the east end of Sitka Spruce Island a few hundred years ago, the Native-Americans had treated the entire island as a sacred place. Many still believed there were forced beyond their understanding…and these spirits had made their home here. After almost 55 years, Edna had to agree. She’d seen too much in her lifetime to believe it was all coincidence any more.
The families who had first settled on the east side of the Island had found they lived longer and had more ‘luck’ with everything they tried than the rest of the inhabitants. At first, there were some concerns about magic and even witchcraft…then the scientists who came to research the island in the 1920s explained it was just better mineral elements in the soil. Probably from the meteor that had hit long before.
The town of Sitka Spruce Harbor grew up along the middle of the northwest end of the Island. Popular with day visitors, campers and tourists, the town offered all sorts of shops and recreational opportunities, making east end relatively less desirable. Unless, of course, you had a mansion built in the 1900s, which attracted visitors from all over the world.
Edna had worked at just such a mansion for the past thirty years. She’s started as an upstairs maid back when it was a private home, ten years before they’d made it into a retreat for wealthy tourists. Now, she oversaw the entire estate including the gardens. There had been a lot of changes in that time, but she was glad the family had managed to keep it going after Mr. Hawkins Sr. died.
His daughter and two sons had remodeled the house and incorporated a professional kitchen, where the old work rooms had been at the back of the mansion. Now that the house was updated, they’d turned their attention to the gardens. The rose and perennial gardens still needed some work, but the annual garden was being transformed into an organic vegetable and herb space. They planned to bring in a new chef for the summer season, which started day after tomorrow. It was going to be a hectic few days, so Edna was having her morning coffee a little early.
Enjoying a cup of coffee, while she walked past the roses was one of the perks of her job. As she made her way towards the bench under the west arbor, she heard voices. Too muffled to make out who was talking, she sensed an undercurrent of anger or impatience. When she got closer, she realized who was speaking and was surprised to find them in the garden. As she started to say something, she felt a sharp pain in the back of her head, then nothing.
Everything went black as Edna slumped to the ground…