In December, I finally got around to writing a short story set in Cheltenham. It’s something I’ve intended to do for years as it’s local to me and features occasionally in the other Lawrence Harpham Mysteries. As usual, The Montpellier Mystery involves actual events and real people. Less commonly, it is a short story (57 pages), so a quick read to curl up with during these dark winter evenings.
The Montpellier Mystery tells the story of Herbert Hillen who died from carbolic acid poisoning at his home in Rotunda Terrace in 1884. It was not clear how he came to take the poison, a problem further compounded when his doctor incorrectly gave the cause of death as long-continued consumption.
This story merges seamlessly with another mysterious death in Cheltenham General Hospital in 1893 when four men fell violently ill. All four had eaten biscuits brought into the ward against hospital policy by Caroline Puddicumbe. When one young man died, the case was referred to the Public Analyst and then to the Coroner.
Neither of these cases came to a satisfactory resolution and were therefore perfect for Lawrence and Violet to investigate in their fictional world. Needless to say, they came to a firmer conclusion than both original inquests.
The Montpellier Mystery is available on Amazon Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) by following this link – The Montpellier Mystery
Coming soon … The Scole Confession – Lawrence Harpham Mysteries Book 3