At long last, the first Carol Montgomery mystery, The Old Courthouse, is available in the Kindle version on Amazon. The paperback version is now also available on Amazon.
Here’s the blurb that will be on my author page (Amazon.com/author/fentonkay)
The old county courthouse, a WPA project from the 1930s, is said to be haunted. A paranormal tour group leads regular night-time ghost tours of the courthouse. Among the haunts they claim are a screaming woman who died suddenly in her jail cell and a judge that died in his office. A developer has purchased the building and plans to renovate it and make it a hotel and convention center. The paranormal tours and purported haunts scared off his early investors. The developer has hired Carol Montgomery to evaluate the old adobe building’s structure as he seeks new investors. Carol Montgomery, Ph.D., is a structural engineer specializing in adobe buildings. A city councilman, and friend of Carol’s, tells her that he heard strange noises coming from the jail one night and asks her to see if she can determine the source while she is doing her evaluation. Carol discovers a dead man outside the building and that someone lives in the old jail. She needs to examine the building’s foundation inside the basement vault. The developer suddenly cannot find the combination.
This is a fun read, and it’s not too long – actually, it’s a novella in length. I think you’ll really like the cat – Rogue. I sure enjoyed writing her.
Just for grins – here’s the opening chapter –
Good evening, folks. Welcome to the Old Courthouse Paranormal Tour. As you all probably know, this building, the jail, and the courthouse provide a home for several astral presences. In our many tours, we have often felt the presence of beings from the other side. As part of your visit tonight, you will be given devices to measure the electromagnetic variations that astral beings cause. In addition, we may hear from the madwoman that died here in one of the cells. She is known to wander through the cell block and whisper and sometimes shriek, as she did when she died. You will also witness the activities of the judge that died in his office next to the courtroom. He is said to open and close the door to the courtroom, much as he did when he was alive. We may also stir up some mischievous sprites that like to roll balls around the hallways. Please don’t forget your flashlights. You will want to view some of the prisoner art found on the walls of some of the cells, especially the solitary confinement cells. My assistant has prepared the way for us by carrying out some exercises with incense. Certain incenses are known to attract astral beings, and my assistant has been trained in the art by practitioners from the Far East.”
“I thought that patchouli smell was from some hippies,” said a voice from the group.
A few titters came from the group as the tour guide responded, “Incense is older than the hippies, young man, and has been used by yogis and others in the East for millennia to both attract and appease those on the other side.”
“Excuse me, sir, will my boy be safe here tonight? I mean, I have heard that there are sometimes things touching and feeling in some of the places.”
“Yes, ma’am, rest assured, my staff will be close at hand at all times, and there are cameras in all of the cell blocks. One of my staff will be monitoring those cameras at all times. Your youngster will be quite safe. But, if you are concerned, simply keep hold of his hand. Now, let’s all take a look at this floor plan of the jail area. It shows where we will be going and indicates places that are most likely to be occupied by those from the other side.”
“Hey, mister, will we hear any chains rattling? My friend says that is what ghosts do.”
“Well, young man, there are reports of such sounds coming from this building, but the astral beings don’t seem to do that when we living folks are here. However, they do try to communicate with us.”
“What do they do?”
“We feel their presence as cold air in a room, and our detectors will light up. We sometimes hear them whispering to us. The spirits of dead prisoners do occasionally open and close cell doors, which do clang. Are there any more questions? No – Ok, then let’s get started. Oh – yes, Happy Halloween.”
The tour leader adjusted his headlamp, signaled to the person standing outside the door. He walked out of the room and into the hallway, followed by the tour group. As they walked out of the room, the lights in the jail went out. It was pitch dark. Several sharp intakes of breath and a low moan rose from the tour group. The tour leader switched on his headlamp and proceeded toward a door at the end of the hall. The hall on the other side of the door was dimly lit by streetlights that shone through the narrow windows that lined one side of the hall. The other side of the hall had several cells, with their doors closed, and a large cell with dormitory-looking steel bunks lined up in it. As the group walked past the cell, a low moaning sound issued from somewhere ahead. The group stopped, and the leader turned on the device he was carrying. The green light on its top flickered several times, then went out. No one noticed a slight shimmering of the air inside the bunk-filled cell. As the group walked past the large cell full of bunks, two kids ran down the hall and banged on the cell bars with their flashlights and making loud groaning sounds. The flashlights promptly went out.
“Please, folks, restrain your children. We want to discover the real presences that are here, and banging on the cell bars and making loud noises is not conducive to that,” stated the tour guide, “We wouldn’t want to scare off our apparitions, and now their flashlights don’t work. Very inconvenient.”