Book Excerpt: Dead in the Shop

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“If you put naked gnomes in your garden….” Reggie trailed off, seeming completely at a loss for how to finish his sentence. “Can you not antagonise the woman?”

“I could.” Valor had no intentions of stopping their gnome wars. He thought it a perfectly passive-aggressive punishment for their nosy and bigoted neighbour. She disliked them because of their relationship and Bishan’s ethnicity. “But I won’t. Not going to apologise either.”

“Fine.” Reggie shook his head and chuckled. “I’ve already spoken to her about it. I did point out the gnomes are in your garden.”

Valor reached down to grab a stray frog, tossing it over the fence. “Unlike her amphibians.”

“What are you doing?”

“Making it rain?” Valor snickered with the detective. “Sorry.”

“Don’t lie to the police.” Reggie laughed. “She’ll send another complaint, and I have better things to do than write reports about flying frogs.”

“Really?” Valor wondered if he could get a copy of one of those reports to frame and put on the wall. “Could I—”

“No, I’m not making copies for you.” Reggie glared at him, proving how well he’d gotten to know them. “Why don’t we have tea inside? Prevent Mrs Harris from pelting you with frogs.”

“Will rivers of blood be next?” Valor wandered into the cottage with Staccato and Reggie following close behind. “Bish?”

“Made tea.” Bishan waved at Reggie and plucked Staccato off the floor. “Did you chuck another frog over the fence?”

“Who, me?”

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