If the Tasmanian Tiger really is extinct, how come it won’t go away in this bundle of funny mystery novels?
Laugh your way through three books from the Windy Mountain Tasmanian Tiger series, and find out what apples, Irishmen, and disappearing landmarks have in common.
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Fright in the Night
PADDY was awakened by someone coming up the stairs.
At first he thought it was part of a dream. But he opened his eyes wide and his heart started pounding when he realised the creaking on the stairs was real.
Paddy realised he did not have a clue who else might have a key.
He looked at his luminous watch. It was nearly midnight.
The footsteps on the stairs were getting louder as the intruder neared the top.
Paddy slid out of bed and grabbed the first weapon that came to hand. He tip-toed to behind the open door, and raised the broom like a bat.
All he could see through the crack were shafts of light bouncing off the walls, which told him the intruder had a flashlight. Paddy’s heart skipped a beat when he saw the man turn into the hall because he also appeared to be carrying a knife.
Paddy took a step backwards so he’d have room to swing at the intruder’s head.
But the footsteps stopped just short of the door.
Another door creaked like it was being opened. When it slammed shut and the hallway turned dark, Paddy realised where the man with the flashlight had gone. He remembered leaving a window ajar in the bathroom.
But why had the burglar gone into the jacks?
Perhaps he had a nervous tummy?
Whatever. Paddy decided this was a good time to go on the offensive. What better time to beat the shite out of him than when his pants were down!
Paddy stepped into the hallway. He could see the flickering glow of the flashlight under the bathroom door. He slowly, quietly turned the doorknob. Then he flung open the door and charged into the room, shrieking and waving the broom.
He realised the burglar wasn’t sitting on the bog. He was standing near the mirror and ducked when the broom whooshed past him. The beam of the flashlight flew around the room like a spotlight as the silhouette staggered backwards.
Paddy swished and missed again. The man shouted. ‘Will you stop trying to kill me? I’m a friend of Billy’s.’
Paddy turned on the light, which startled the intruder even more.
‘Christ, nobody told me the power was back on.’ He looked angry as he switched off his flashlight. ‘Do I look like a burglar to you?’
He had a point. He was about 35, short, pudding-like, nearly bald and dressed in a dark grey suit with an open-neck shirt. The only thing that looked rough about him was the few days of stubble on his face. And the knife turned out to be a screwdriver with a yellow handle.
Paddy lowered the broom. ‘Billy’s dead.’
‘I know. I buried him.’
‘You’re the undertaker?’
‘Dave Jenkins. And you are?’
‘Paddy O’Brien, the new manager.’ The Irishman was still sweating and he realised he was naked. He reached for the stiff-as-a-board towel and covered himself.
‘Don’t worry, I’ve seen lots of naked bodies; not many swinging brooms, granted,’ Dave said. ‘Billy said I could store some stuff here.’
‘What kind of stuff?’
Dave nodded towards the bracket next to the sink. ‘This razor for one thing.’
‘Not really, no …’ His voice trailed off.
‘You don’t sound very certain.’
‘I have to conduct a funeral on Saturday. I know that’s a few days away, but I’ll have to meet family members in the next few days.’ He rubbed his chin. ‘And an undertaker can’t exactly look like he’s been sleeping on a park bench.’
‘I see your problem,’ Paddy said. ‘But couldn’t you have knocked instead of sneaking around with a flashlight?’
‘I didn’t know you were here. You must have arrived while I was out of town. I was going to have a whole week off but my assistant rang and said Betsy Smith had passed and could I come back early.’
‘So what’s the screwdriver for?’ Paddy said.
‘To unscrew the razor bracket from the wall. Did you think …?’ Dave put the flashlight down on the side of the sink. ‘If I had known the power was connected now, I would have brought an electric tool.’
‘Consider yourself lucky to still have your head on your shoulders,’ he said. ‘You can take your razor with you but first I want my key back.’
Dave reached into his pocket and pulled out the key, which he handed over.
He then unscrewed the bracket quickly, brushed past the Irishman and headed for the stairs.
Paddy watched him go down. ‘Next time, knock, OK?’ he shouted from the landing.
‘I’ll lock the door behind me, shall I?’
‘Make sure you do.’