The Pernicious Pachyderm

Victoria Benchley

Chapter one

A Gruesome Discovery 

Duncan adjusted his kilt, nervous energy threatening to overtake his calm exterior. He stepped on the rubbery hose just as the thing moved, wrapping itself around his foot. Teetering, he tried to keep his balance as a wave of dread engulfed him. Without thinking, he held his breath as a means to obliterate the strong odor of wet hay and animal that permeated the air and filled his nostrils.

 
“Step on the tusk, Sahib!” the boy yelled, tempering his strained tone with a forced smile. The lad’s words triggered the expulsion of air from his lungs, and he gasped for breath, trying to quell his alarm and remember the instructions given to him moments before. Instead, he panicked as the beast’s trunk shifted, and he grasped the animal’s long ivory tooth, clinging for dear life. He never should have agreed to this. The creature had finished off one person already. A barrage of encouragement from others had persuaded him that he’d been given a unique opportunity, something no one present would ever forget, a welcome distraction from morbid thoughts that might taint the occasion.

 

 

The pleats on the side of his kilt flounced as the elephant boosted him higher, forcing him to bend at the waist while still clutching a tusk. Compelled to release his hold on the ivory or risk falling, he leaned into the monster and grabbed at an enormous ear. The coarse hair on its leathery hide scratched the exposed skin on his leg like steel wool as the behemoth propelled him further into the air.

 

The Pernicious Pachyderm Description:

When a boutique circus arrives in Taye, tourism is on the rise, but so is murder. Preparing for his upcoming nuptials and refurbishing his cottage aren’t enough to keep Duncan occupied. A gruesome crime intrudes on the idyllic village, and as the detective becomes embroiled in the murky case, a specter from the past returns, threatening his happy ending. Can Duncan absolve an elephant accused of killing his ringmaster? Can he find the real killer before he or she strikes again? Will a jealous spirit from ancient Clan Neish hinder the Scotsman’s wedding and harm his fiancée? Suspects abound as Dewar returns, joined by the usual cast of family and friends and several newcomers in his latest mystery set in beautiful Perthshire, Scotland.

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