‘Daddy’ Orwatt and his beautiful, cunning and much younger wife, Amiyah, a budding mystery writer who needs material for her latest novel, “Murder at Ravenswood Hall”, have invited his top executives to his 70th birthday party for dinner and a murder mystery game. The game is his way of finding his successor to hand over the power and control to his mega-billion dollar corporation. This would be the final test of their loyalty and leadership ability.
Amiyah takes this game a step further than her unwitting husband intended. The game is taken over by legendary ghosts of the Cape Fear region. Who will die and who will get the top job? The mystery takes an unusual turn as it travels north from Wilmington, NC to Buffalo, NY, following yet another murder!
Murder, mystery and the supernatural all come together to change their lives...forever!
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Excerpt from the novel:
Part I: The Guests
A word of warning to all my guests;
They are revealing who know us best.
Beware your actions, safeguard your words –
Lest life’s loose pleasures, gives flight to birds!
“A thousand injuries I have borne…”
Edgar Allen Poe
“It was a cold and rainy night.” No, that’s been done.
“It was a dark and stormy night.” No, that’s been overdone.
“The night had a cool, damp mist settling in as darkness began to blanket the town.” Now that’s…
“Ada. ADA! For the love of God would you please get yourself dressed? Our guests are beginning to arrive.”
My real name is Amiyah, but Daddy likes to call me by my middle name – Ada. He says it sounds more mature and sophisticated…whatever.
“Yes dear. I was just working on my new murder mystery and lost track of all time. Sorry. I’ll be there in a jiffy.” Arthur, or ‘Daddy’ as he likes to be called, has been really anxious about this dinner party. It’s to celebrate his 70th birthday and we’re having a few close friends over to celebrate with us; or should I say business associates of Daddy’s – those are the only friends we have. I hate to say it, but I’m the one giving it and am really the least interested.
“Murder at Ravenswood Hall” by Amiyah Dumas-Orwatt will have to wait until tomorrow though. I must play the good hostess. After all he did bring me from a mediocre middle-class existence to the life of wealth and luxury, which is affording me the time and means to write my mystery novels – so…
“Davenport, would you be a dear and ask Clarissa to come help me pick out the right gown for tonight’s party. I’m sure she’s in the kitchen just sitting around bothering Mrs. Higgins. I didn’t hire her to loaf.”
“Why certainly, ma’am. I’ll get right to it.”
Having a butler, housekeeper and a cook is a world away from where I was raised; but, it’s where I am now and I’m not going to blow it. Besides, I’m 25 years Daddy’s junior and am sure to out-live him; especially with his poor health.
“Dear, I do apologize for getting so excited earlier. It’s just that tonight’s going to be more than just a birthday dinner party. You know how important it is for my business affairs, but I also have a big surprise for you. I’ve been dying to tell you, but I wanted it to be a special night for you as well. I have arranged for the guests to stay with us here at Ravenswood overnight due to the nature of the events that will take place.”
“What! You know how I hate these kinds of last minute surprises. If you want to surprise me buy me a diamond necklace or a Ferrari; but overnight guests…”
“Wait until you hear what I have planned before you get yourself into a tizzy; and, don’t worry, they won’t actually be staying here at Ravenswood. They will be staying in other places around the coastal area. This will just be home base as it were.”
“I just hope it will be better than the last time you came up with one of your hair-brained ideas when you almost…”
“Now Ada; let’s not bring up old wounds. This time I have made sure everything will go as planned and everyone will have a good time; you’ll see. I have been over all of the details a hundred times and I assure you nothing can go wrong.”
“Aren’t you going to say ‘trust me’? Isn’t that what everyone says just before the proverbial other shoe drops?”
“Oh, don’t be so negative. This time it WILL be fun. You’ll see…trust me.”
That was what I was waiting to hear. He’s so predictable. I could just kill him for all of his ‘fun’ adventures; but I won’t. Little does he know that I found out all about what he had planned and have made arrangements for some interesting turn of events of my own for his ‘adventure’.
“Now, as I was saying. After a scrumptious dinner that Mrs. Higgins has prepared for all of us, each guest and their spouse or partner will embark on a little adventure planned just for them. They will each go to their own specific location this evening in and around the Wilmington area, where they will find packets containing instructions that will explain what their role is to be. In order to return here to Ravenswood they must carry out the instructions exactly as I have prepared them.”
He paused to give me a smile and to read my expression, which he was so good at. He then continued, “Everyone will play the part of someone from Wilmington’s haunted past – sinister or otherwise. At their location they will find costumes that they will wear as they play out the role they are given; and each location has been chosen specifically for the people and the role they play. The ‘game’ will end promptly at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning as those that remain alive will have the chance to tell of their adventure over a delicious breakfast in our home. And finally, I have arranged for…”
“WHAT! Stop right there. You had better explain that last part.”
“Oh, I don’t mean anyone will really be killed; it’s all part of the game; it’s a murder mystery. In fact, it involves several murders. Don’t you see; for the past month you have been having trouble starting your new novel. I thought that I might be able to help you by creating this game and in doing so it might get your creative juices flowing once again.”
I almost knocked Daddy to the floor as I leapt out of my chair and into his arms. Sometimes I feel as though I don’t deserve someone who is so good to me; but only sometimes.
But just when I thought that he actually respected my work he had to ramble on and ruin it.
“Although, I must admit it serves a second purpose; this one is for me. This being my 70th birthday and all; well, I am feeling my mortality lately and decided to turn over a good bit of the power and control that I have to one of these, my top executives in my enterprises. As you are well aware, I have spent the last few months screening these candidates and this will be the final test to see who is best suited to take over much of the control of the company. This will afford me the leisure time to enjoy life with you more. Now doesn’t that sound good to you?”
Just when I thought things were beginning to look up!
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Murder at Ravenswood Hall is Michael’s second novel.
It is a murder mystery that conjures up local legends and myths of long dead souls from the Southeastern North Carolina Coast. Part of the journey to solve one of the murders takes us from Wilmington, NC to Buffalo, NY. The novel includes poems written by the author.
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