Blog blitz: A Testament to Murder by Vivian Conroy
Hello, and welcome to my blog blitz post! I’m hugely excited to be sharing an extract from A Testament to Murder with you today, but I’m going to share a bit more information about the book first to whet your appetite.
A Testament to Murder is the first book in Vivian Conroy’s new A Murder Will Follow series. Released on the 18th of February, this cosy crime novel is perfectly for curling up under a blanket and passing a lazy Saturday while waiting for the weather to warm up later in the year.
Suspenseful from the first page to the last, A Testament to Murder is perfect for fans of And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express and Crooked House.
A dying billionaire. Nine would-be heirs. But only one will take the prize…
At the lush Villa Calypso on the French Riviera, a dying billionaire launches a devious plan: at midnight each day he appoints a new heir to his vast fortune. If he dies within 24 hours, that person takes it all. If not, their chance is gone forever.
Yet these are no ordinary beneficiaries, these men who crossed him, women who deceived him, and distant relations intent on reclaiming the family fortune. All are determined to lend death a hand and outwit their rivals in pursuit of the prize.
As tensions mount with every passing second, retired Scotland Yard investigator Jasper must stay two steps ahead of every player if he hopes to prevent the billionaire’s devious game from becoming a testament to murder…
If you’re interested in purchasing A Testament to Murder, it’s available to order through Amazon.
Still not convinced? Here’s an excerpt from A Testament to Murder which is bound to sway you:
The butler hovered over him, and on his other side was the discreet-looking man in a suit, whom she had taken from the lawyer. Suddenly the air seemed charged with all the electricity of the building storm outside.
Did that mean something about the will would be mentioned?
Patty put down her knife and fork, rubbed her fingertips on her napkin and took a quick sip of water to make sure she didn’t gawk too conspicuously as all her hopes of a large fortune made their way to the head of the table.
Malcolm sighed with relief as he sank into the chair with armrests that stood there waiting for him.
The butler piled pillows behind his back, while the lawyer said something at his ear and then withdrew to stand along the wall.
Malcolm gestured with his right hand to indicate that the butler could clear the table. The clatter of plates was nothing like the solemn atmosphere Patty had imagined for a grand inheritance announcement. Would she forever have to recall that she had been pronounced sole heir to a fortune, while a fork almost fell into her lap?
It wouldn’t matter of course for the money would be just as good, but still she would have liked this moment to be special.
Malcolm waited until the butler had left the room and then said, his gaze slipping past all of their faces, “I’m very pleased that you’ve all accepted my invitation and have come out here to spend some time with me while you still can. I’d like to introduce you to my lawyer Frederick Koning, who is here to ensure everything is done legally.”
At the latter word an excited shock drifted through the room. Everybody was suddenly aware of what was about to happen.
Patty tried to look normally curious and not over anxious, although of course from the very moment everybody knew about her privileged position, they’d start undermining it. She had hoped Malcolm would keep his new will a secret until he was dead and nothing could be changed anymore.
Malcolm said, “For my entire life I worked hard and lived frugally. I put money in the bank; I bought houses and horses and cars.”
“Even a plane,” Patty mouthed, but Malcolm didn’t seem to see it and continued, “I collected antiques and other valuables. What you see on the walls in this room alone is enough to pay for a modest house in London.”
Sharp intakes of breath suggested that Malcolm’s wealth was suddenly greater than any of them had expected.
Malcolm continued, “I have gathered things upon things, not thinking about the time when I would have to leave this mortal existence without being able to take anything along. Now the time has come to think about it. I’m forced to think about it as my doctors have told me I will not recover.”
He coughed a moment and used a handkerchief to wipe his mouth.
Nobody said they were sorry to hear that he was dying.
They just waited, their faces tight, until he continued, “I decided to ask all of you to come over here so I can tell you what I will do with everything I own.”
His eyes with bright and intense as he glanced round again. “I could have done this the conventional way, I suppose. I could have decided to give something to everyone who played a part in my life. But why would I give any of you anything? My ex-wife Cecily showed herself so eminently able to spending my money whether I wanted her to or not. I think she spent quite enough and need not have any more.”
Cecily turned pale and seemed to want to protest, but Malcolm didn’t give her a chance. “My ex-partner, Howard, not only took my business but also my wife. I doubt I can give him anything that would go beyond that.”
Kenneth stared in shock from his mother to his father, and for a moment Patty felt sorry for him. The poor boy had probably never understood how things were in his family. This was a rude awakening, a blow dealt by an unsympathetic old man who had apparently chosen these moments for a little revenge.
Malcolm said, “My nephew Hugh could no doubt use money to keep him fed and lodged while he tries to decide whether ‘walked’, ‘trotted’, ‘marched’, ‘rushed’ or ‘ambled’ is quite the right word to convey his character’s current action. And as his masterpiece can’t end up shorter than at least three hundred thousand words, you can imagine such careful choices take up a lot of time.”
Hugh opened and shut his mouth like a fish out of water.
Malcolm said, “In addition to the demands of his fickle Muse, Hugh now also has the wishes of his new wife to take into account. Although I can imagine that a nanny who exchanged three screaming charges for only one, already got the better end of the deal and should not ask for more.”
Patty was numb with shock at being exposed like this at dinner and grabbed her wineglass, gulping down the contents.
Malcolm calmed continued, “She rather likes to drink…”
Patty lowered her glass to the table with a bang.
“And has expensive taste in clothes, although it is beyond me why dresses containing so little fabric have to cost so much.”
Theodora snickered, and Patty wanted to throw something at her. She had no idea why Malcolm who had promised to give her everything was now tearing her apart in front of everybody else. He had to be losing his mind.
Wow. That’s an explosive introduction to an eclectic cast of characters, and I can’t wait to find out more about them. Who do you think will be going home with Malcolm’s inheritance at the end of the day?
About the author:
Armed with cheese and chocolate, Vivian Conroy sits down to create the aspirational settings, characters with secrets up their sleeves, and clever plots which took several of her mysteries to #1 bestseller in multiple categories on Amazon US and Canada. Away from the keyboard, Vivian likes to hike (especially in the Swiss mountains), hunt for the perfect cheesecake and experience the joy in every-day life, be it a fiery sunset, a gorgeous full moon or that errant butterfly descending on the windowsill.
If you like the sound of A Testament to Murder and want to let Vivian know how excited you are, you can contact her on Twitter.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Canelo, for allowing me to get involved with this blog blitz and sending me such an exciting excerpt to feature! I’m working with them on another blog tour in a couple of weeks time, so keep an eye out for it – it’s a title I finished reading in a day and hugely enjoyed.