Editor Jess Faraday brings you nine spooky mysteries from Helen Angove, Leonhard August, Emily Baird, H. Tucker Cobey, Charlie Cochrane, Lynne Finger, Mark Hague, Gay Toltl Kinman, and Angelia Sparrow. Here you'll find zombies, extraterrestrials, vampires, shape shifters, and more than a few ghosts. Travel from 19th c. England to the present and future, on a package tour led by your favorite Elm Books authors!
Excerpt from Secrets, which is set on board the frigate Hecuba, in the time of the Napoleonic wars. (And because I wrote it, it's got two ship's officers having to hide their relationship.) The appearance of a sea monster has heralded a series of alarming events, not least the revelation that two of the ship’s crew have been seeing ghosts. Things are about to get even worse...
“Are you saying...”? The captain’s question was interrupted by the arrival of the lieutenant of marines, with two of his men in tow. “Yes, Henman?”
If everyone who’d heard Thompson’s story of the admiral had turned pale, then Henman’s face out-ashened them all.
“Could you come with us to the hold, sir? Now. It’s important.”
“I will.” Hopkins passed a hand over his brow. “Mr. Douglas, can you make sure Thompson gets a hot meal inside him? Ask my steward to rouse out the last of the chicken broth. That’ll settle him down for a reasonable night’s sleep.”
The looks on the faces of the rest of the midshipmen indicated Thompson might be the only one of them in that happy position. What if this White Admiral, whoever he was, might want to have a word in season with them?
“Mr. Paget?” Hopkins motioned for his first officer to join him as they followed the marines along the deck and down the nearest ladder. “What is it I’m being taken to see?” he asked, once they were out of earshot of the crew.
“A dead man. The surgeon’s with him, but he’s beyond even Mr. Cowan’s care. Here.” Henman pointed, as they reached the hold. Two marines were standing watch, holding a lantern, while Cowan bent over a twisted body.
“Who is it?” Hopkins asked.
“Ponting,” Cowan said, easing himself up off his haunches. “The side of his head’s been stoved in. With this, I suspect.” He pointed to a blood smeared belaying pin, which Paget—gingerly—picked up and held at arm’s length.