By Ellery Adams.
Your journey to Storyton Hall begins at the train station. The moment you alight from the train car, a man dressed in impeccable blue and gold livery will raise a placard bearing your name. After collecting your luggage, your chauffeur will lead you to one of Storyton’s fleet of vintage Rolls Royce sedans. It looks like you’ll be spending the forty-five minute drive to the resort in the luxurious comfort of a Silver Shadow. While you gaze out the windows at the tree-covered hills and the endless blue sky, your driver will remind you of Storyton Hall’s technology restrictions. Because the resort caters to readers, we don’t want anything to disturb the tranquility of the public areas, so you may only use cell phones, tablets, ereaders, or computers in the privacy of your room. At first, this might cause you some anxiety, but you’ll soon find that it’s a boon to be able leave the cares of your busy life behind for a spell.
Ah, here comes your first glimpse of Storyton Hall now. Do you see how magnificent it is? How its central clock tower reaches toward the hills and its two long wings seem to reach out and out like a pair of arms opening to embrace you? As for the sweeping expanse of front lawn, you might chose to play croquet on the Lewis Carroll lawn or stroll around back to Milton’s Gardens. But for now, kindly step into the manor’s elegant lobby. Note the high ceilings, brilliant chandeliers, and the numerous groupings of plush chairs and sofas. But before you continue your tour, Mr. Butterworth, Storyton Hall’s butler, would like to offer you a glass of champagne. All of our guests are greeted in this manner. Consider the bubbly just the beginning of the delightful surprises you’ll discover during your stay.
Once you’ve unpacked, perhaps you’d like to check out a book from the Henry James library and then make yourselves comfortable in the Jane Austen Parlor or the Daphne Du Maurier Sunroom. Or, you could have a bite of lunch at Kipling’s Café or the Madame Bovary Dining Room. But don’t overindulge, because we serve afternoon tea every day in the Agatha Christie Tea Room. And believe me, you don’t want to pass up Mrs. Hubbard’s Victoria sponge, scones served with homemade jam and clotted cream, or her tantalizing tea sandwiches.
And make sure you have enough energy for this evening. We’re opening the Murder and Mayhem Week here at Storyton Hall with a costume ball. I hope you’re prepared to dress up as your favorite detective. Of course, I won’t be able to tell who’s who tonight. With all the Miss Marples, Hercule Poirots, and Tommy and Tuppences, a guest could get away with murder and I’d never know it!
One last word of caution: Storyton Hall is a paradise for readers, but like many old houses, it has its own secrets. In fact, there’s an entire library hidden in a fireproof, temperature-controlled room in the highest turret. The treasures housed within this room could be called the Eighth Wonder of the World. So valuable are they, that many a person has come to Storyton Hall bent of stealing them. If you intend to commit a nefarious act, I must warn you: those of us who live and work here are not quite what we seem, and we will stop at nothing to protect our guests, our property, and our secrets.
Enjoy your stay!
Jane Steward, Guardian of Storyton Hall
Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near
the Long Island Sound. Having spent her
adult life in a series of landlocked towns,
she cherishes her memories of open water,
violent storms, and the smell of the sea.
Ms. Adams has held many jobs including
caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher,
tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning
poems, children's books, and novels.
She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia.
Berkley Prime Crime has generously offered a copy of Murder in the Mystery Suite to one of my readers. Please comment below before midnight on August 22, 2014. Entries from the US only, please.
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