Excerpt from Sun, Sand, Murder by John Keyse-Walker, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Sun, Sand, Murder

A Mystery

by John Keyse-Walker

Sun, Sand, Murder by John Keyse-Walker X
Sun, Sand, Murder by John Keyse-Walker
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  • Published:
    Sep 2016, 288 pages

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Mollie Smith Waters
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Print Excerpt

Chapter One

I ran my hand along the smooth curve of Cat Wells's hip. Fine grains of sand adhered where she had rolled from the blanket as we made love. She dozed in the sun, or pretended to. I looked out across the placid waters of Windlass Bight and wondered how I had gotten myself into this mess. Living in a simple place does not always make for a simple life.

I suppose it wasn't truly a mess because no one knew Cat and I had been meeting in secluded spots around the island for the last six months. Icilda, my wife, neither knew nor suspected anything was amiss in our marriage. Icilda's daily routine of home and kids, waiting tables at the Reef Hotel, and any spare moments devoted to her activities at the Methodist church did not allow time for the detection of infidelity.

Not that she had any cause to be suspicious. I had been a model husband throughout our marriage. A good breadwinner, working three steady jobs and guiding on the side. A good father to our children, Tamia and Kevin. Always attentive to Icilda's needs and wants. Faithful throughout our twenty years together.

Until now. Now I was unfaithful, a cheater, a selfish lowlife, a dirtbag. I knew what I was doing could ruin my marriage and my family but try as I might I could not give Cat up, could not act with respect for my wife, could not honor my marriage vows.

I'm still not sure how my affair with Cat got its start. I know precisely when it all began; it is the "how" that seems so hard to grasp. The "when" was a fine September morning. I was to meet two anglers traveling from St. Thomas for a day of fly-fishing on the shallow bonefish flats that surround much of my home island, Anegada. My contact in St. Thomas told me the clients would be arriving at Captain Auguste George Airport on VI Birds Air Charters. The pilot was new to the Virgin Islands and both she and the clients would need to clear customs at the airport. This was not a problem, since, in addition to my other occupations, I am the customs officer for Anegada.

There were no other incoming flights scheduled for that morning. I arrived early and waited alone inside the one-room shed that serves as the airport terminal. HRH Queen Elizabeth II stared balefully down on me from the faded coronation portrait that had graced the terminal wall since the building's dedication. The southeast trade wind wafted through the open door. A hen and three black chicks searched for morsels along the edge of the gravel runway. Otherwise, nothing and no one seemed to be about.

A few minutes after the scheduled arrival time, the silence of the morning was broken by the approach of a helicopter from the southwest. I shielded my eyes from blowing dust as the mango-yellow VI Birds copter settled in the taxi area and its rotors wound down.

Cat Wells emerged from the pilot's seat, wearing an unplugged radio headset draped like a fur around her exquisite neck. She was certainly different from the other pilots who flew to Anegada, usually eager pups hoping to work their way up the ladder to a job with a commercial airline. Unlike the pups, Cat Wells had presence, the kind of presence that stops male conversation when she enters a room. She moved with purpose across the taxi area, lithe and professional in khaki pants and a crisp white shirt with captain's bars on its shoulders. Her flawless mahogany complexion and her regal bearing called Nefertiti to mind, astray by three millennia but still serene and self-assured. Seeing me standing in the terminal entrance, she approached with an extended hand.

"Hi. Are you the customs man?" Her eyes were the deep green of a mountain lake, a rare attribute in a black woman. Those eyes took in my faded and frayed constable shirt, worn shorts, and sandals with a look of disapproval. Well, perhaps "disapproval" is too strong a word; the look had more than a hint of pity mixed in. Like a mother inspecting a child who had dressed himself in his favorite outfit, again, for the fifth day in a row. A slow burn of embarrassment rose from my neck to my ears. I was thankful my dark skin did not betray the flush.

Excerpted from Sun, Sand, Murder by John Keyse-Walker. Copyright © 2016 by John Keyse-Walker. Excerpted by permission of Minotaur Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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