Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Murder at Midnight

About the Book
Title: Murder at Midnight
Author: John Ukah
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Alex Simpson, an ex-police officer, decides after a bout of typhoid fever to take a break in a serene and therapeutic environment. The last thing he expects is to be called upon to solve a murder at the Kinging Guest Lodge. But that is what happens, when the delectable and vivacious Maria Marshall is found dead in her bedroom at midnight.

The gallery of characters living at the guesthouse and thrown into the mix, do not make his task of solving this chilling and brutal murder any easier …

Author Bio
John Ukah is a seasoned banker and Associate of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ACMR). He is a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin, where he was listed as University Scholar. He also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA).

Purchase “Murder at Midnight” on Amazon: United StatesUnited KingdomGermany, FranceSpainItalyNetherlandsJapanBrazilCanadaMexicoAustralia, and India

It is also available on SmashwordsKobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble (Nook)Okadabooks, and major online stores. 
Okadabooks is mainly for buyers in Africa. 

I love you so much,” said Nagoth and Maria smiled. He walked around to stand in front of her chair then pulled her up. He looked like her kid brother because of his small stature, as they held onto each other. Then, he raised himself on his toes and kissed her on the lips, while she wrapped her arms around his neck.
I love you too,” she said.
Why did you pour the drink in his face?”
He said something I didn’t like,” she replied, still locked in his embrace.
I hear footsteps,” said Nagoth and they quickly put some distance between themselves.
One second, you pour a drink in one man’s face and the next second you are embracing and kissing another,” said Mrs. Marshall, as she limped up to them. She sighed, shook her head and hobbled past them, turning the corner of the Lodge, her crutches leaving a trail on the sand behind her.
How did she know that we kissed?” asked Nagoth, looking surprised.
You looked guilty enough!” replied Mrs. Marshall, her voice coming from a long way off. Even I was surprised.
Your mother is telepathic,” whispered Nagoth smiling.
I know. Some people actually call her a witch. And she can probably still hear us,” replied Maria.

Nagoth pulled her into his arms again and resumed their kissing bout. She responded passionately, to his kisses and caresses.

For some strange reason, I did not approve of their relationship. But it was not just about the absurd height difference between them. I sat down to analyse my feelings and I realised with a jolt that I was actually jealous of Nagoth, because I wanted Maria for myself!

The next morning, I felt inclined to write a business proposal, which I had been too lazy to do for a while. So, I decided to go downstairs still in my pyjamas, to get some writing materials from Ayuba. I was feeling quite merry, which was surprising after yesterday's revelations.

To my surprise, Tonye almost fell into the room, as I yanked the door open. He however, quickly regained his balance. He had been leaning on my door and listening in!

Who were you talking to, Mr. Simpson?” he asked me with a lift of his bushy eyebrows. “I heard you talking inside.”
You were eavesdropping?” I asked him, getting annoyed and irritated. He looked over my shoulder into the room, by raising himself on his toes.
Were you talking to yourself, Mr. Simpson?” he asked, drawing his brows together.
Tonye, I was not talking with anybody or to myself. I was singing. I hope you know that there is such a thing as singing?” I asked him. But I could see that he did not believe me. He had made up his mind that I had gone off my rocker and had been talking to myself. Nothing I could say would change his mind. He slowly shook his big head from side to side and made his way into his room.
Just take things easy, Mr. Simpson,” he advised, smiling mischievously, as he went in. The imbecile! I hoped he wouldn't start rumours that I had gone mad!

When I got downstairs, Ayuba was sitting behind the bar and polishing some drinking glasses. Maria was standing in the lounge. She was wearing a beautiful, yellow flowery dress that matched her handbag. She seemed to be waiting for someone. When she saw me, she flashed me a smile that sent my heart racing. She was beautiful!
Good morning, Mr. Simpson,” she said cheerfully.
Good morning, Maria,” I replied. “How are you doing?”
Fine, thank you,” she said. I walked over to Ayuba.
Please, can I get some writing materials, Ayuba? I have some letters to write.”
No problem,” replied Ayuba and he made his way over to a chest of drawers behind him.

At that moment, Nagoth came into the lounge from upstairs. He looked dapper in denim jeans and a white shirt. His round face radiated as he walked towards Maria, who I now realised had been waiting for him. I felt jealous all over again.
You’re set?” Maria asked him, reaching out her manicured left hand to adjust his shirt collar. That simple action affected me more than I could ever have supposed. I wished it was my collar that was being adjusted.
Yes,” replied Nagoth.
Let’s go then,” said Maria. “But I’m walking with you only part of the way. I have some other things planned for today.”
Okay,” replied Nagoth. And hand in hand still talking, they walked out of the lounge, into the morning sunshine. Like a married couple.

I took the writing materials back to my room and settled down to begin writing. About an hour later, I heard hushed voices coming from under the shady trees. It was Maria and her mother. At first, I did not pay any attention to what they were saying. Their voices gradually rose as tempers flared. That was when I realised that they were actually quarrelling. So, I got up and peered through the curtain.

I forbid you to see that man!” said Mrs. Marshall, in a stern voice.
You cannot do that,” replied Maria, rising to her feet in anger. “I’m a young woman and I have a right to see whomever I wish to!”
That man is no good for you!” shouted Mrs. Marshall. “I can see through his charade. He is a fraudster!”
What do you know about him?” asked Maria. “I like him and I will see him every second of the day if I want to!” Maria's temper matched her mother's.
He is no good for you, I’m ordering you to stop going to his room.”
I’ll not have you talk to me like this. I’m not a child.”
You’re still a child to me. I’m your mother and I’ll tell you what is right for you. I can see things from afar while sitting, which you can’t see even standing. I will have a word with him when he comes back.”
If you say anything to him, I’ll never speak to you again! You’re not my mother! You are nothing to me! I hate you!” screamed Maria and she ran off, down the path.
Come back here!” shouted Mrs. Marshall. “I said come back here, you! I have a mind to kill you! Worthless child!” she tried to rise to her feet but sat back again. She had a murderous glint in her eyes.

She suddenly looked up at my window. I was not sure if she could see me. I hastily retreated into the room.
Good morning, Mr. Simpson,” she called out. “Nice view from up there, isn’t it?”
I did not answer her. The woman was certainly a witch. But I could not help wondering which man she did not want Maria to hang out with. Was it Nagoth whom she treated almost like a son? Or some other man?