Alex R Carver – A Stone’s Throw



Title: A Stone’s Throw: Inspector Stone Mysteries #5

Author: Alex R Carver

Genre: Mystery


A dead body really ruins your holiday.

During a much-needed break in Devon, Inspector Nathan Stone finds himself at the centre of a murder investigation when the wife of the owner of the hotel is found killed.

The last person to see her alive, he must contend with the suspicions of the local police.

The arrival of a storm that isolates the small village of Donningford from the outside world changes everything, however, and Nathan must take charge of the investigation.

A second murder drives home a frightening fact: Nathan, the other guests, and the hotel staff are sharing a roof with a hate-filled killer who will stop at nothing to exact revenge…and to prevent the police from discovering the truth.


Chapter 11

Louisa shivered, despite the layers of t-shirt, jumper and jacket she was wearing, and stripped the excess water from her face with her hand.

The gesture was automatic, she was far too soaked for it to make any real difference to her, as was Nathan, who squelched up the stairs at her side. Together they resembled a pair of oversized, half-drowned rats.

The storm that Floyd Mantle had warned them about had held off until they were on their way back from ocelot spotting. It was just as well it had for the fifteen or so minutes they were out in it was more long enough to leave them thoroughly drenched and very uncomfortable.

Despite their current physical situation, they were both happy for all three ocelots had come down to the small, stream-fed pool that seemed to be their favoured watering hole. Not only had they managed to get photographs and video of all three drinking together from the pool, they had been only a dozen feet away when the ocelots left to return to wherever it was they had their lair.

“How much do you think proper video equipment would cost?” Louisa asked as they reached the second-floor landing, where they were to part company, she to head along the passage to her room and Nathan to carry on up to the next floor, where his room was. “The sort used by wildlife documentary-makers, the sort with top quality infra-red and night vision capability.”

“More than you can afford,” Nathan said. Expensive was as close a guess as he could make, he didn’t have the first clue what sort of price might be attached to such a piece of equipment, only that it wouldn’t be cheap. “You’re not thinking of turning documentary filmmaker, are you? Because, no offence, I think you’re better off sticking to journalism.”

Louisa gave a disappointed sigh. “I guess you’re right. It’d be nice to have some better-quality footage to go with the article I’m going to write, though. What you got last night, and what I got tonight, is alright, good enough for my website, but I know I could do so much better with the right equipment.”

“I’m sure you’re right. You’ll just have to make do with what you’ve got, though. After all, nobody’s going to expect David Attenborough level film quality from a news website. Besides, what you have is good enough for people to know the footage is genuine. Anyway, I really need to get some sleep, so I’ll see you in the morning.” With that Nathan headed up the stairs to the next floor while Louisa made her way along the passage.

Nathan yawned as he walked down the third-floor passage. He was looking forward to getting into bed, he was even more tired than he had been last night after seeing the ocelots, but sleep was pushed from his mind when he approached the door to his room. The door was ajar, and a thin sliver of light shone through it to illuminate a part of the wall opposite.

He was certain that he hadn’t left his room open when he left, which meant someone had broken in, and the only reason he could think of for someone to do that was to rob him. It wasn’t the first time he had been a victim of a crime, but it was the first time he had been robbed, if that was what was happening. He supposed it was his perverse sense of humour, but it amused him that it had happened when he was on holiday and had little of value with him, and most of what he did have was on his person.

As stealthily as he could in his sodden clothes, Nathan made his way along the passage. He considered calling the police, or going for help, but quickly decided against doing either; with the weather worsening there was every chance that the police wouldn’t be able to get there, at least not without a major delay, and he didn’t think it appropriate to ask anyone else to risk themselves in checking his room with him.

The intruder was doing their best to be quiet, but Nathan could hear them moving about as he got closer. It was hard to tell what they were doing but it didn’t matter, what did was that they were in his room without permission.

As silent as he endeavoured to be, Nathan wasn’t silent enough. He was half a dozen feet from the door of his room when he was betrayed by the hotel — a floorboard creaked under his foot. The noise of the storm should have drowned the squeak but somehow it didn’t, the high pitch of the floorboard seemed to cut through the howling of the wind to alert the person in his room.

Nathan reached the door of his room in time for it to be thrown open as the intruder made their escape. Something solid struck him on the side of the head, knocking him sideways and sending him to the floor, where he saw stars. Through his dizziness he saw the back of a person, unidentifiable thanks to a long, dark coat, he couldn’t even tell their sex, running down the passage towards the stairs.

Slowly, Nathan pushed himself to his feet, swallowing against the nausea that left an unpleasant taste in his mouth. He leant against the wall to stay upright and cautiously shook his head to clear the dizziness while he debated whether to give chase or to check his room to see what, if anything, had been taken.

By the time he had cleared his head sufficiently to make movement a safe proposition the figure was out of sight. That made up his mind for him; since there was no way for him to know where the intruder was headed, giving chase would be a pointless waste of his time. Whoever had hit him could disappear into any room, or even leave the hotel and disappear into the storm.

Entering his room Nathan found it in disarray. The wardrobe doors were ajar, kept from closing by his clothes, most of which had been pulled from the hangars, and in some cases torn in the process; his bags had been searched and the small amount they had held was scattered across the bed and floor; the bed was messy, as though the intruder had searched it for anything that might have been hidden between the sheets or under the mattress, and the drawers of the small bedside cabinet stood open, though there had been little in them to be rifled through.

As far as he could tell, the only thing missing from his room was the only thing of value that had been there, his laptop. That wasn’t much of a loss in his opinion for all his important files, mostly just pictures and video clips of his wife and kids, were backed up online thanks to his sister, who understood computers better than he did.

Once he had finished his brief examination of the room Nathan returned to the passage, where he took out his phone.

Alyssa Rose – Binding Fate



My bio

Alyssa Rose is a YA author of fantasy/fiction. She is an avid reading of all things fantastical and magical! She read Inkheart, Magik, and The Thief Lord and was instantly hooked on fantasy at about age 8. Her love of books and writing continued with inspiration and encouragement from her parents and a teacher that propelled her toward creative writing. To this day, she enjoys a good story with plot twists, amazing characters that draw you in, as well as, a storyline that forces you to return again and again. She enjoys teaching, traveling, knitting, and spending time with her husband and daughter!


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