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Dead Serious Case #4 Professor Prometheus Plume (PAPERBACK) Standard Print Edition

Dead Serious Case #4 Professor Prometheus Plume (PAPERBACK) Standard Print Edition

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Standard Print Edition

Dead Serious Case #4 Professor Prometheus Plume

In the business of unfinished business...

Inspector Danny Hayes has something very important to ask his boyfriend Tristan Everett. Over the past six months they’ve survived reapers, chaos monsters, and biblical storms, not to mention averting an apocalypse. So, what’s left to do but pop the big question?

Tristan is ready for a break from world-saving, spectral crises, and most definitely from ghosts. He wants some one-on-one time with his boyfriend, preferably horizontally. So when their Boxing Day celebrations result in a drunken booking of a romantic New Year’s getaway at a quiet little hotel near the wilds of the north Yorkshire moors, Tristan can’t wait.

But as usual nothing ever goes according to plan. Snowed in during an unexpected murder mystery weekend at what turns out to be one of the most haunted hotels in Northern England is not what they had in mind, but when one of the actors turns up really dead not just fake dead, they once again find themselves caught up in another investigation.

With only one night to figure out who the killer is while wrangling a multitude of overly helpful ghosts, Tristan begins to wonder if romance really is dead…

From Author Vawn Cassidy comes the next instalment of this hilarious and sweet paranormal romance mystery series

Paperback - Standard Print Edition 274 pages
Dimensions 8.5 x 5.5 inches
ISBN: 978-1-916916-15-9
Publication Date January 8th, 2024




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“You’re turning into a complete workaholic, you know. You never have any time for me anymore.”
I look up to find Dusty pouting. Snorting softly, I turn my attention back to the corpse on the table and complete the Y incision.
“What are you wearing, Dusty?” I drop the scalpel onto the tray beside me and reach for another tool to cut through the layers of muscle.
“What?” She glances down at herself. “What’s wrong with it?”
“You look like Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games. I feel as if I should be volunteering as tribute.”
She rolls her eyes and fists her hand on her cocked hip. Her wig is an enormous mass of curls sprinkled liberally with glitter and piled high enough that her head resembles a sparkly pine cone. The eyelashes she’s batting in my direction are so long and feathery I’m worried she might trip over them in her five-inch gold platforms. Huge Christmas tree baubles that I think are meant to be earrings dangle from her ears, but it’s the actual outfit…
Holy glitter balls, as Chan is so fond of saying, the outfit.
It’s… well, it’s more a leotard rather than a full outfit. A very loud, glittery explosion of red, gold, and green sequins. It has long sleeves and the biggest, most ostentatious gold epaulettes at the shoulders which are edged with a sparkly fringe. The leotard is cut high on the hips, revealing ridiculously long legs encased in sheer tights decorated with crystals, and at the back is a huge rouched bustle which falls to the floor and drags behind her.
“I don’t think that’s appropriate workplace attire,” I remark mildly.
“It’s lucky I don’t work here, then. You work enough for both of us. You’re never home, and you barely pay any attention to me. It’s like you don’t even see me.” She sighs dramatically. “Are you getting tired of me? Am I looking old? And fat? You don’t love me anymore, do you?”
I sigh loudly and roll my eyes. “You know full well there’s not an inch of fat on you, as if it even matters to me. In fact, there’s not an inch of flesh on you, on account of being incorporeal and all. And you also know full well I do love you.”
“Tris, come on,” she whines.
I pick up the rib spreader and glance up, quirking a brow. “You’re bored, aren’t you?”
“It’s Christmas Eve, for fuck’s sake. We should be throwing a party and getting drunk with all our friends, singing karaoke while in the bathtub fully clothed, trying to sail to Australia.”
“I sense there’s a story there. You or Chan?”
“The point is,” she says with a huff, “that you should be halfway through a bottle of Bailey’s right now, doing bad, bad things to your sexy fella under the mistletoe, not carving up a dead body like you’re H.H. Holmes.”
“Your knowledge of serial killers is improving.” I hum.
“That’s only because Danny keeps insisting on watching those crime documentaries on the History Channel.”
“Yeah.” I snort, highly amused. “Ever since he found out about one of my ancestors and his close lifelong friend who happened to be a detective in Whitechapel around the time of the Ripper murders, Danny’s become obsessed with Victorian crime. It’s kind of cute, really. For my birthday, he bought me a vintage medical instrument set which was used for autopsies in the late 1800s.”
“There is something seriously wrong with the two of you,” she says as she shakes her head slowly.
I smile as I continue to work. “The longer you stand there distracting me, the longer this will take.”
“But why do you have to do it now? It’s not like he’s going to get any deader.” She glances down at the decedent on the table as if it’s entirely his fault we’re short-staffed.
“Because it’s my job, Dusty.” I sigh. “You know, it’s not as if I wouldn’t like some time with my boyfriend. But they still haven’t found anyone to replace Alan, so I’ve had to cover.” She huffs again and crosses her arms. “Why don’t you go and see Bruce?” I murmur absently as I remove the heart and turn it over in my hands, looking for signs of damage.
She sulks. “He’s busy.”
“Just like I am,” I point out.
“I get that, but you’ve been working so much. You’d think they’d at least let you out of here early. It’s Christmas Eve!”
“Believe it or not, I am aware of that fact,” I mutter. “And if I wasn’t, the fact that what waits for me upstairs once I’m done here is an office full of my coworkers, a few plates of burned sausage rolls, some cheap Buck’s Fizz, Mariah Carey on an endless loop, and—the most disturbing of all—a naughty version of Secret Santa? That would confirm it is indeed Christmas.”
Dusty’s eyes widen. “What exactly does the naughty version of Secret Santa entail? Sounds like it’s right up my alley.”
I grimace. “It was Hen’s idea. The problem is, other than me and her, all the others are well over sixty and heading towards seventy.”
“Who did you get?”
“My boss, Mr Baxter, a sixty-seven-year-old confirmed bachelor. All he does is nap and read Angling Times. It’s not like I could buy him a box of chocolate penises.”
Dusty cackles in delight.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS!” two voices sing out. I don’t need to look to recognise the two accents, one American and one Scottish, but I glance at them anyway, still holding the heart carefully.
Ian and Dave, two spirits who seem quite content haunting the mortuary, stand at the end of the table, grinning at me. Both wear Christmas party hats, but Dave now has a small party horn between his lips. He puckers his mouth and blows, letting the paper tube unfurl with a pathetic toot.
“Merry Christmas.” I place the heart onto a set of scales and make note of the weight and dimensions.
My attention is drawn back to them and I find myself puzzling over the pair of them, which I seem to find myself doing a lot lately. It’s not that I mind them haunting my place of work. I really like them actually, and they tend to be good company.
Dave gives a twitch and blurts something random as he usually does. While alive, he had Tourette’s and coprolalia, which meant he not only had a noticeable tic but also uncontrollable bursts of inappropriate language. Being a spirit doesn’t seemed to have changed that.
As a couple, they really are an enigma. Dave is a small, pale Scotsman with jet-black hair and blue eyes. He appears as he did when he died, dressed in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and wearing a pair of socks and no shoes. He’s always dripping wet, leaving a trail of muddy water wherever he goes, since he died by taking a nosedive into the Thames while under the influence of more than one too many Jägerbombs.
As for his partner in crime, Ian is the day to Dave’s night. Tall and blonde, tanned like a surfer, and wearing grey sweats, socks, and a t-shirt. He also appears as he did when he died, covered in clumps of blue wax and shards of glass from an exploding lava lamp. A heavy cloud of weed seems to follow him around, and when he speaks it’s with a comfortable laid-back drawl.
The fact that they continue to appear as they died should mean they’re locked in death cycles, unable to change and move on without solving their unfinished business. But, more than six months on from their respective deaths, I’m still no closer to figuring this mystery out.
They seriously don’t seem to have any unfinished business. They’re both ridiculously well-adjusted, considering the circumstances. But now, seeing them both in party hats, I wonder if they can actually change some aspects of how they appear. In fact, I’m beginning to suspect it’s something else entirely that’s keeping them here. But what that is, I have no clue.
I blow out a breath and turn back to the dead guy on the table—who really should be getting my full attention, not the two dead guys at the end of the table who have found a sprig of mistletoe from somewhere and are now kissing.
“Aww, you guys are so cute,” Dusty coos at them. “Who says being dead’s a drag?”
Ian pulls back and grins across at her, lifting a hand to high-five her while his other arm stays wrapped around a blushing Dave.
I shake my head. It’s been well over a year since I started seeing spirits and there are days when I still don’t understand any of it. I turn back to my job at hand while the three ghosts cluttering up my workspace continue to chatter.
“Oh my god!” a new voice exclaims loudly.
“What now?” I look up to find a man standing to the side of Ian and Dave and staring down at the body on the table… his body on the table.
“Great.” This is just what I need, another ghost. I’m never going to get out of here tonight. Danny’s going to be spending Christmas Eve on his own at this rate.
The man who has just appeared looks to be in his mid to late thirties. I glance over at my notes to check his name and date of birth. Okay, he’s thirty-nine.
He’s wearing a maroon Adidas tracksuit, the hoodie of which is stretched over his ample paunch, and on his feet are neatly laced white trainers. But his personal style is not what draws my attention. His thick, brown, bushy hair is standing on end, poofed out like a toilet brush and it’s smoking.
Spidery red lines fan out on his neck, and the palms of his hands are marred with electrical burns, the same ones that are evident on his corpse. His cause of death was pretty obvious the moment they wheeled him in, but I still have to perform a post-mortem to determine the exact cause.
“Er… Terrance Connell?” I say, recalling his name from the notes.
“Terry,” he corrects absently, his eyes still firmly rooted on his body.
“Terry.” I nod. “Well, this is Ian, Dave, and Dusty.” I point to each of them in turn.
His eyes widen as he stares at the two ghosts, one dripping wet and the other covered in flecks of glass, but when his gaze tracks over to Dusty, he does a double take. Then again, it’s not every day you see a six-foot-tall drag queen dressed like a Christmas tree in the middle of a mortuary.
“Oh my god,” he says again. His gaze dips to the burns on his hands before returning to his corpse. “Am I dead?”
“I’m afraid so,” I say as gently as I can given that I currently have just put my hands back in the guy’s chest cavity.
“What’s the last thing you remember?” Removing my hands from his body, I grip the edge of the table.
“I was doing some re-wiring in the kitchen,” he mutters.
“Are you an electrician?” Dusty asks.
“No, but I watched a YouTube video. I just thought, you know, how hard can it be?” He purses his lips thoughtfully. “In retrospect, I probably should have shut off the mains first.”
“Titbadger,” Dave blurts.
Terry frowns. “Excuse me?”
“Not you,” Dave replies.
“Dude,” Ian interjects. “You’re like Frankenstein, you know?” He holds out his arms stiffly in front of himself and mimes getting electrocuted. “IT’S ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE!” He throws his arms up and laughs maniacally.
“Honey, you need to lay off the bong.” Dusty tuts. “It’s the other way around. Technically, he’s dead.”
“You know, if we’re being technical, Frankenstein was the creator, not the monster,” I murmur and, without thinking, pick up the heart from the scales.
“OH MY GOD!” Terry exclaims for the third time. “Is that my… is that…” His eyes roll back in his head and he falls backward in a dead faint.
“Clean up aisle seven,” Dusty calls out.
I wince. “Oops.”

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