Following Kinsley’s first birthday party, a sudden flood causes a catastrophe in Coventry. While Brighton and her family are able to keep Hangman’s House safe, the rest of the town isn’t spared. When the waters recede, a body turns up. At first, it appears the victim got trapped in her house and drowned. Things are not as they appear to be…
It’s Kinsley’s first birthday and it’s heralded by a wicked storm. Fortunately, the Aunties, Annika and Gunner are there, so when the flooding begins the Skeenbauer witches begin a twenty-four-hour protection around Hangman’s House. Gunner has to leave much to Annika’s dismay, but she is reassured by her family that he is well protected and will be fine.
Once the storm is over Annika and Brighton head out to find Gunner since he’s not answering his phone. they find him save and sound only to find out he’s going to take their vehicle and all the others that were at the house. They are the only ones running since they weren’t flooded out. Annika and Bright begin checking on the residents of Coventry and call in the family to help. In the process, they come across a body, one that may or may not have succumbed to the floods.
With law enforcement swamped with not only paperwork but also the aftermath of the floods, Brighton and Remy take on the investigation. It seems deceased wasn’t very well liked by anyone, not even her children. Norah was mean spirited and verbally abusive to everyone. With some mean pranks thrown in. That makes it hard to pin down who could be responsible.
The funeral is a telling event and is sort of interrupted by workers headed to the older part of the cemetery. Meri fortunately aids that situation.
This is a favorite scene.
We walked along the gravel road in the cemetery until we reached the grave site. As we got closer, I saw that there were a few chairs set up near a casket, but there was only one occupied.
“We should stay back for a while,” I said to Remy when I stopped walking. “There’s really no way for us to blend in when there’s only one woman seated at the service.”
“Did you think more were going to show?” Remy asked.
“I don’t know what I thought, but let’s just hang back for a while. Maybe more people will arrive.” But, I doubted it.
The only woman seated at the funeral was about our age. She was dressed in black slacks and a dark blue button-down top. My guess was she hadn’t packed for a funeral because she hadn’t planned on attending one while she was in Coventry. I figured the woman was Emma, the daughter, because who else would it be?
The woman I assumed was Emma looked over at us when she saw the minister looking our way. She offered us a soft smile and then turned back to looking at the casket. Remy and I were standing right by another grave, so she must have assumed we were visiting someone’s grave and not that we were spying on her.
A minute later, two large trucks with digging equipment on their trailers drove into the cemetery. They kept going past us and down a little hill into one of the older parts of the cemetery. At first, I’d thought they were there to dig another grave. It would have been strange given that there hadn’t been any other recent deaths in Coventry, but sometimes people who’d moved away were brought back to Coventry to be laid to rest.
But no one would have been burying someone in that part of the cemetery. It was too old and it didn’t have any open plots. Since we couldn’t join the funeral yet, I took Remy’s hand and we walked far enough that I could see over the crest of the small hill. “Oh, no,” I whispered when I saw the truck’s destination.
The floodwaters had absolutely ravaged that part of the cemetery, and there were some coffins that had come out of the ground. Some were sticking out of the dirt like the ground was growing coffin plants. The only mercy was that the coffins had all remained sealed shut and there weren’t any… remains littering the ground. They would have all been bones at that point given how old the graves were, but it still would have been slightly horrifying.
The only real issue, other than the workers getting the coffins reburied, was that there were a couple of angry spirits in the area. Disturbed graves, no matter how old, could do that.
“We’ve got to do something,” I said to Remy. “Those ghosts are going to attack those workers.”
“I got it!” Meri said as he went streaking past us.
“Meri?” I stage-whispered after him. “I got it,” he said without turning around.
“Oh, gawd. Please don’t blow anything up,” I said and grimaced.
His only reply was a flick of the tail as he continued on his mission. We watched as he circled the area like a shark.
It was a good thing too because those ghosts were ready to rumble. One of the digging implements came to life while it was still on the truck. It started moving on its own and striking out at one of the nearby men. Even from several hundred feet away, I could see them all turn as white as sheets and start backing away from the rogue digger thingy.
Meri ran into the middle of the fray, and when the sun hit his fur, it almost looked like he had a white glow. It was strange because he was a black cat, but the terrified workers didn’t notice one bit. Whatever Meri was doing weakened the ghosts and the digger stopped moving. The ghosts turned on Meri, but when they tried to attack him, they poofed away into little fizzles of what looked like smoke or steam. A third spirit appeared from behind a tall obelisk gravestone.
The ghost smashed into the stone and it crumbled to pieces. I guessed it was supposed to be some sort of show of force. It worked on the men because they started backing up in the other direction. Meri, on the other hand, hissed. The fur on his back stood up and his tail poofed out. He hissed again, and the ghost disappeared. Meri just meowed at the men and walked over to them.
“Good kitty.” One of them said. “Hey, Hank. I think this cat got rid of the ghosts.”
“Y’all are nuts,” one of the others said. “There were not ghosts. That was just this dumb piece of crap malfunctioning and that old gravestone was damaged in the flood.”
Meri meowed again.
“I don’t care what you say, I’m going to give this good kitty some of my lunch meat,” he said. “Aren’t you such a good kitty?”
“Well, hurry up,” the other man said. “We’ve got work to do. Nobody is paying you to play with some stray cat.”
The man retrieved his sandwich from his truck and gave Meri some of the turkey off of it. They went back to work, and Meri trotted up the hill toward us.
“It’s a good thing I came along,” Meri said.
“We could have handled that,” Remy protested.
“Yeah, but that was good turkey,” Meri retorted before licking his lips. “It was the good stuff from the deli counter. Anyway, what are we doing?”
I looked over in time to see a red Toyota pull up near the funeral tent. A man got out of the driver’s seat, and he went around to open the passenger door. Amelia emerged from that side dressed in an ankle-length black cotton dress and a big black hat. The man, I presumed her son, was wearing khaki pants and a white dress shirt. Like Emma, he probably hadn’t planned on attending a funeral while in Coventry.
Amelia walked over and joined the woman I assumed was Emma. She stood up and the two embraced. Neither woman looked distressed, but instead they sat down and began to chat. Amelia’s son got back in his car and left.
I decided that since Amelia was there, Remy and I would go join them. Amelia knew who I was, so if she saw us, she’d wonder why we were skulking around the perimeter.
“Hi, Amelia,” I said when we reached the area where the funeral was set to begin.
“Oh, hello, Brighton.”
“This is my husband, Remy,” I said.
Remy put out his hand out and both women shook it. “This is, Emma. She’s Norah’s daughter,” Amelia said.
“It’s nice to meet you,” I said. “Although I wish it were under different circumstances.”
“Don’t worry about me. I’m doing this more as a formality than anything. It just seemed wrong not to have some sort of funeral even though I don’t know why. I’m surprised anyone showed up. I had to bring this minister in from two counties over because everything is just so chaotic in the surrounding area,” Emma said and let out a sigh. “Leave it to mother to die during the worst possible time.”
“Well, I had to come and make sure you’re all right,” Amelia said and patted Emma on the back.
“I’ll be fine, Amelia, but I do appreciate you coming. I know you looked in on my mother, and even though she didn’t appreciate it, I do.”
“What about your brother and sister?” Amelia asked.
“I don’t know. I tried to call Ashley ten times and she would never answer or call back. Eventually, I just told her over voicemail. I hated to do that, but she needed to know. I spoke to Jared, and he’s not happy about the funeral thing. He hung up on me when I asked him to help pay for it.”
“Oh, no,” Amelia said.
“Well, things are strained. That’s what she wanted, you know. She delighted in watching us at each other’s throats when we were younger. It’s hard to get past that even as an adult,” Emma said.
The sound of approaching vehicles turned our attention away from our conversation. Two trucks and a minivan drove up and parked off the side of the gravel road half in the grass.
“Who could this be?” Amelia asked.
“I have no idea,” Emma said. “I’m not expecting anyone.”
“Oh, those are some of our neighbors,” Amelia said as men and women started to depart the vehicles. “Wonder why they’re here?”
But that became obvious as the people started pulling a grill out of one of the truck beds. The other contained three coolers. They cracked open the coolers. One contained meat and hot dogs, the other looked like it had containers of other food, and the third was full of ice and cold drinks.
“Are they… tailgating?” I asked in astonishment. “Are they tailgating at your mother’s funeral?”
Emma let out a strangled chuckle. “You know, that doesn’t surprise me one bit,” she said and turned back to her chair. “I’m just going to tell the minister to get started.”
“Remy, you should go over there and run them off,” I said. “I’ll help you.”
“No, it’s okay.” Emma said. “Let them have their fun. Heck, I might join them for a hot dog when the service is over. I’ll tell the minister to keep it short. I think a cold beer and a hot dog would be the best part of all of this mess. Now, let’s get this done.
Bourgeois, Sara. Wicked Witches of Coventry: Books One – Eleven. Kindle Locations (13732-13796). Kindle Edition.
This investigation is a bit difficult as obviously no one cared for Norah. Gunner was most appreciative for their help since he and his deputies are overwhelmed.
Siblings, neighbors, lawyers and more as this tale unfolds with more than a couple twists.
The only thing I have to say as this series ends, is that this book seems out of order. The previous book has more of Kinsley’s childhood, and the epilogue leads into the new series starring Meri and Kinsley.
That said, I truly enjoyed this series, it’s all fun quick reads, with the mysteries and Meri.
Needless to say I need more Meri so I’ve started the next series.
5 Contented Purrs for Sara!
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Sara Bourgeois is a Midwesterner through and through. She spends her time writing, reading, herding cats, and standing in her driveway during tornado warnings. (You can’t see them from the basement.)
2 thoughts on “Swept Away – Wicked Witches of Coventry Book 11 By Sara Bourgeois”
Great blog post! I loved reading the scene in the cemetery where Meri comes in and saves the day. It’s always interesting to see how the paranormal aspects are weaved into the story. I do have a question though – you mentioned that this book seems out of order compared to the previous one. Can you share more about that and why you think that is?
The previous book, Baby Broom takes us through Kinsley’s childhood and the epilogue when she’s 18. This book is her 1st birthday.