She applied the Page 69 Test to her newest Penny Brannigan mystery, Murder on the Hour, and reported the following:
Page 69 is the best page in the book!Visit Elizabeth J. Duncan's website."In there," she gasped. "Oh, my God. Call the police."In Murder on the Hour, the seventh in the Penny Brannigan North Wales series, Mrs. Lloyd and her companion, Florence Semble, are on their way home from a local antiques show when they are stopped in the street and become party to the discovery of a dead body. Ah ha, thinks Mrs. Lloyd, this is our chance to give that Penny Brannigan a run for her money. This is our murder to solve, Florence. It doesn't take long for Mrs. Lloyd to discover she's better off leaving that to the expert. Or rather, the amateur sleuth.
Mrs. Lloyd pulled her phone out of her handbag and pressed 999.
"What should I tell them?" she said to the woman. "Has there been an accident?"
"Worse than that," the woman wailed. "There's a dead body in there and I think someone killed her."
She started to shake and sob.
"You've had a terrible shock," Florence said to the distraught woman as Mrs. Lloyd spoke to the police on the telephone.
"I wonder if the police would mind if I took her home and gave her a cup of tea. You could wait here until they arrive," Florence said to Mrs. Lloyd when she had ended the call.
"Me!" Mrs. Lloyd exclaimed. "What if the killer comes back and finds me alone in the street? He might think I witnessed something and kill me to keep me silent. Happens all the time. And anyway, I wasn't able to tell the police which house it is. I said we'd just be here and this lady would show them.
She turned to the woman. "Which house was it? I don't think you said."
The woman look at a piece of paper in her hand. "Number thirty-five. The lady's name is Catrin Bellis. I was just there about renting a room off her. I certainly didn't expect to find a dead body."
"Of course you didn't," said Florence soothingly.
Mrs. Lloyd and Florence are useful characters. They can break tension by providing comic relief and Mrs. Lloyd, who was the town's post mistress for years, knows everything about everybody and is helpful in providing background information. Florence serves as the counterfoil to prick her pomposity and keep her grounded.
Writing their scenes is always fun and readers seem to like them. I'm glad I was able to introduce Mrs. Lloyd and Florence to you today in the page 69 test.
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