author of the Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries, the Cornish Mysteries, and over 30 Regencies.
I'm revisiting Anthem for Doomed Youth because it's been chosen as part of a Barnes and Noble promotion for Downton Abbey. There seem to be some problems with the promo--many stores apparently haven't even heard of it, and though my newly reprinted book is in the stores, I've so far had no reports of it being sighted in those displays that have been put up!
My previous excerpts from Anthem are here: http://historicalfictionexcerpts.blogspot.com/2012/03/anthem-for-doomed-youth.html
along with more information about the book.
[Daisy has been playing with her toddler twins in the nursery when the parlourmaid comes to say Scotland Yard is on the phone.]
She hurried downstairs, filled with foreboding. When Alec rang up in the middle of the day, it invariably meant a disruption of their plans. Not that plans were ever anything but tentative when one's husband was a Detective Chief Inspector at Scotland Yard, liable to be called to the outer reaches of the kingdom at a moment's notice.
She picked up the "daffodil" stand, sat down on the chair by the hall table, and put the receiver to her ear. "Tom?"
"Afternoon, Mrs Fletcher. How's my godson?"
"Screaming for Dada. Healthy lungs! But I assume he won't be seeing him for a while?"
"The Chief'll have to tell you about that. Can you hold on half a mo, please, he's on another telephone."
"Of course. How is Mrs Tring?"
"Blooming." DS Tring adored his wife, a large woman though not as large as Tom. That didn't stop his having a wonderful way with female servants when he needed to extract information. "And Miss Miranda?"
"Likewise. Her vocabulary grows by leaps and bounds. Not quite up to yours yet."
"I'll have to look to my laurels."
Daisy pictured his luxuriant moustache twitching as he grinned. "Belinda's pretty good too. It's her school sports day on Saturday. Oh no, don't tell me—"
"There's no way of knowing, Mrs Fletcher. Here's the Chief."
"Alec? Darling, you're not going to miss Bel's sports day, are you?"
"I hope not. If we haven't made an arrest by then, I might be able to sneak away for the afternoon. Epping can't be more than forty miles from Saffron Walden."
"You're only going to Epping? I was afraid it might be Northumberland."
"You always are, love. I can't think why."
"Because it's so far away. But Epping— You'll come home for the night, then?"
"Yes, but don't wait dinner for me."
"Don't half the murderers in London bury bodies in Epping Forest?"
"It's often been considered a convenient spot." Alec sounded amused.
"If that's where you're going, don't forget to take Wellington boots. It's still belting down."
"The forecast's for a clearing trend tonight. Let's hope they're right for once."
Daisy jumped to the obvious conclusion. "So you are going to dig up a body in Epping Forest?"
"Three of them. For a start. I'm only telling you because there's no conceivable way you can get yourself mixed up in this case."
"Of course not! But do be careful, darling. I'd hate for the fourth body to be you."
"No fear of that, love. I must run."
"Should I tell Mrs Dobson to leave something out for you?"
"No, I'll pick up a bite to eat somewhere. Coming, Tom!" He said good-bye and rang off.
Daisy hung up. Three bodies! Assuming they had all been killed by the same person—a madman? Or perhaps a member of an East End gang?—there would be a lot of pressure on the police to arrest someone before another murder followed. Not that Alec didn't always clear up his cases as quickly as possible.
Still, today was Wednesday. It didn't seem likely that he would be finished by Saturday, or even free to take an afternoon off. Poor Belinda! Though happy at school, she was so looking forward to seeing them. She would have to make do with her stepmother. Luckily she was used to Daddy disappearing at unpredictable intervals. She had been a detective's daughter much longer than Daisy had been a detective's wife.
So Daisy goes off to visit her stepdaughter (at the school I went to much later on!), and inevitable gets mixed up in a murder--which may be connected with Alec's case--or maybe not.