A Sassy O'Brien Mystery, #1
Cover Artist: Alicia Stucky
The last thing hair stylist Sassy O’Brien expects to find on her morning run on her local beach is a dead body. An addict of TV crime programs, she thinks, “What would Beckett do?” After ringing the police, she takes several crime scene photos on her mobile phone, as you do.
Much to Detective Donnelly’s consternation, Sassy’s involvement becomes instrumental in his investigation, especially as clues are overlooked by his team.
How will Sassy cope when all the clues point to her?
The last thing she expected to find while jogging with her dog on Mornington Beach was a body.
A human body.
But there it was. Her breath caught and her stomach tightened.
To be fair, the body wasn’t actually on the beach, but on the stony bank along the River Boyne near where it opened into the Irish Sea at Mornington Beach. The river had been an active shipping lane since medieval times for the port town of Drogheda just four miles upriver.
Was he alive? The large man lay on his side with his back to her, so she couldn’t tell.
Taking a deep breath, she pulled Bracken to her side and inched closer to the body. The wolfhound strained at the lead, trying to get a sniff between yelps and whines.
The man had shaggy, dark hair and wore a black-wool coat, well-worn, blue denim, and black boots. It seemed to her untrained eye that he could have worked on a ship. Could this man have fallen overboard from one of the ships catching the last high tide? With his damp hair and wet clothes, if he hadn’t fallen off a ship, he’d at least been out here since last night’s rain.
“Hello?” Her voice squeaked. She took deep breaths, forcing herself to relax. “Are you all right?”
Silence was his only reply.
Her heart pounded in earnest now. The dog’s barking didn’t help matters, especially where Sassy’s shoulders were concerned. Wolfhounds were strong, so even though Bracken was a well-trained dog, it was still a struggle keeping her at heel.
“Whisht. Quiet.” She tugged on the lead, and the dog fell in beside her, resorting to soft guttural growls.
Keeping Bracken close, Sassy made a wide arc around the body. The man wasn’t moving, so she inched closer and touched his booted foot with her runner-clad toe. “Hey.” Still nothing.
She scanned the area for help, but at this hour of the morning, she and Bracken were the only ones about.
Cautiously, she moved in front of him and knelt onto one knee to see if she recognized him beneath the strands of damp hair partially obscuring his face. He didn’t look familiar, but he did look pale. Really pale. His lips were grey. She noticed the side of his face was discolored where it rested near the ground, but the rest of him was deathly pale.
Then his lips moved.
She leaned in closer. “I can’t hear you. What are you saying? Are you all right?”
Just as she reached out to move aside the hair from his eyes, his mouth opened. What she’d thought was his tongue emerged as a small crab when it spilled onto the ground and skittered away toward the river.
“Oh, dear God!”
Sassy quickly fell back. Bracken’s sharp, startled yip meant the dog was behind her, which caused Sassy to lose her balance. She twisted her body, hoping not to crush the poor dog when she landed. Rough stones bit into her hip as she came to a crushing stop, her elbow and shoulder taking the rest of her weight.
Without considering her injuries, she spun onto her back and used her feet to push herself through the stones and away from the dead man. Bracken’s lead had wrapped around Sassy’s wrist, forcing the dog even closer to her as they moved.
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” Her heart felt like it was going to explode from her chest.
Once more, she gazed around her. This is what she got for running so early in the morning.
She turned her gaze back to the corpse.
She admitted it now. He was a corpse.
Her stomach tensed. She swallowed hard to keep her morning’s tea and toast in place.
Buck up. It’s just a body. He can’t hurt you. It’s not like you haven’t seen dead people before. Good God, this is Ireland. A good, old-fashioned Irish wake put paid to the fear of seeing dead people. Lots of them. She’d just never seen one on the beach before.
Taking long, deep breaths, Sassy got hold of herself. She pulled her mobile from her coat pocket and dialed 999.
* COMING SOON *
LYNCHED IN LAYTOWN
A Sassy O'Brien Mystery, #2
It’s happened again. On her morning run, Sassy discovers the body of a man hanging from the scoreboard at the Laytown Races winner circle—the jockey who’d won yesterday’s famous beach race. When two women are discovered to be carrying the deceased baby, a disgruntled and jilted wife, and jealous jockeys, suspects are at a premium.
Detective Donnelly is called in to investigate, but will Sassy’s involvement be of help or hindrance? If anything from his past experience with the hair stylist is to go by, this case will take an interesting twist.