A Note to the Gentle Reader
It’s happened. You’ve finally taken that dream trip to England. You have seen Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park. You have ridden in one of London’s famous black cabs and encountered the Beef-eaters at the Tower of London and the ravens under their care. You have taken the Jack the Ripper tour and walked those bloody footsteps in East London. This should be enough for anyone—but, perhaps, not enough for you. You’ve decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the city to stretch your legs in the bucolic countryside of these green and pleasant lands.
You’ve read the books and watched the shows. You know what to expect: You’ll drink a pint in the sunny courtyard of a local pub. You’ll wander down charming alleyways between stone cottages. Residents will tip their flatcaps at you as they bicycle along cobblestone streets. It will be idyllic.
The author respectfully suggests you put aside these fantasies. It is possible that you will find yourself in a placid and tedious little corner of England; it is just as possible that you will end up in an English Murder Village. You will not know you are in a Murder Village, as they look like all other villages. When you arrive in Shrimpling or Pickles-in-the-Woods or Wombat-on-Sea or wherever it is, there will be no immediate signs of danger. This is exactly the problem. You are already in the trap.
My advice: Stick to urban areas. Do not go to the countryside. Dispose of this book, and continue on with your life.
If you still insist on pursuing this course of action, commit the following information to memory. It may help you remain alive, if anything can.
Copyright © 2021 by Maureen Johnson and Jay Cooper. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.