Monday, December 29, 2014

Better late than never

Happy New Year to you all! Wishing you a happy and healthy 2015. As part of Killer Characters' Season's Readings, one lucky commenter will receive a copy of "Murder, She Wrote: Death of a Blue Blood," and if by chance you're already read it, you can choose another book from the series. Here's a little sample from the New Year's Eve ball at Castorbrook Castle.

By Jessica Fletcher



“I can’t even try to be blasé about this,” I said to George as I straightened his bow tie.

“I hope I told you how beautiful you look this evening.”

“You did and I thank you, sir. You’re looking especially well yourself.”

George was wearing a Prince Charlie fitted jacket over a kilt in the Sutherland dress tartan, a black-and-white plaid with narrow red stripes running through it. I wore a pale blue gown—George said it matched my eyes—with a beaded top. All around us the finery rivaled any red-carpet event I’d ever seen on television.

“Mrs. Jessica Fletcher and Chief Inspector George Sutherland.”

George and I stepped up to greet our hosts. A photographer moved in to snap our picture.
The earl was handsome in his tuxedo, pearl gray waistcoat, and white gloves. “Thank you for coming,” he said, shaking my hand and then George’s.

The countess was a picture of elegant simplicity in a column of white satin accented by a red sash that ran across her shoulders and tied behind her back. For jewelry, she wore only ruby earrings and a large domed ring with a fleur-de-lis pattern in diamonds that was fitted over her long white kid gloves....

 
After greeting the other family members in the reception line, we stepped inside the great ballroom, together with some one hundred forty close friends and relations of Lord and Lady Norrance. The spacious room sparkled like a fairyland with crystal chandeliers and sconces. In the corners, tall Christmas trees, reaching nearly to the ceiling, were decorated in gold and white, with their delicate lace snowflakes and sparkling glass ornaments hanging from branches that were also host to flickering crystal birds....

All around us, guests chattered, greeting old friends, catching up with news, and gossiping about our hosts. Snippets of conversation reached our ears.

“I see Norrance is doing well,” I overheard a guest say to his companion. “This bit of décor must’ve cost a pretty penny.”

“Word is the high-end hotel chains are queued up to woo him,” she replied. “They must be lining his pockets.”

“Did you see the sapphire ring Kip’s wife is wearing?” a young woman asked her escort. “Poppy is flaunting her jewelry like she’s already the countess. I’m sure Marielle doesn’t appreciate it. She hates to be outshone.”

“Wanna bet the dowager passed down one of her baubles just to annoy her daughter-in-law? My father says the elder Lady Norrance never liked the earl’s choice in wives.”

“I must say this champagne is not the highest quality,” a matronly woman told her escort. She took a full glass and placed her empty one on the tray held by a waiter whose back was to us.

“Probably saving the good stuff for themselves,” the gentleman muttered.

The waiter, who turned out to be Archer Estwich, pivoted and extended the tray of tall glasses. “Would you and the inspector like some champagne?”

George shook his head, smiling.

“I thought it was pretty good quality myself when I sampled it in the kitchen.” Archer winked at me.

“I’m all set for now,” I said, laughing, “but we’ll look for you a little later.”


Jessica and George spent their New Year's Eve at a ball, but we like to spend ours at home with the fireplace going, soft music playing, and delicious goodies we only treat ourselves to once a year. What's your favorite way to spend New Year's Eve?

51 comments:

  1. A movie and Chinese take out. Yeah I know, not very exciting. stclairck@gmail.com

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  2. Vera Wilson said: At home off the road and safe. Neighbors has fireworks, so no need to go out to view and fight traffic. Hot cocoa and a good book.
    snoopysnop1 at yahoo dot com

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  3. At home, usually in bed before midnight rolls around....

    ElaineE246(at)msn(dot)com

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  4. At home in front of the fire and TV with my hubbie, whippies and some red wine :) Vija

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  5. My husband usually has to work New Year's eve so the kids and I stay home at watch movies.

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  6. Usually just spend it at home watching a movie with my brother as my parents go away for the holidays. :)

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  7. Looks like most of us vote for an evening at home. We try to stay up for the ball coming down, but don't always make it.

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  8. At home with some rented movies and lots of shrimp scampi.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  9. Happy New Year to you as well. My daughters are all going out but I am going to buy some great food and stay home with the hubby.

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  10. At home watching New Year's specials with my husband - and loving it! lkleback@hotmail.com

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  11. Reading, having a glass of wine and not being woken up by fireworks or gunshots at midnight.

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  12. We spend ours quietly as well. Try to stay up to watch the ball drop at midnight but don't always make it. Not as many goodies as past years but always something special.

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  13. At 11:45 PM on New Year's Eve, I wake my husband up to tell him I'm in labor... Our first child was born New Year's Day 1982 - the first baby in our county that year! Cheers@MarjimManor.com

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  14. At home this year! With a bottle of wine and a fire in the fireplace!

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  15. I like to spend New Year's Eve at home with the love of my life just being together. Sometimes we watch the ball drop on TV, sometimes we watch movies. We'll have take out and some treats. To me, it's so much better than battling the crowds and the cold!

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  16. I stay at home and watch the New Year's shows on T.V. Me and my mother will have a party tray with ham, cheese, and crackers and will drink some Minute Maid Grape Punch. I've never celebrated New Year's away from home except for one year when I went to the First Night celebration downtown. I think it was in 2000. They don't hold that here anymore.

    I'd love to win this book. I own 30 books in the series!

    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. I would like to meet Angela Lansbury who is appearing in Blythe Spirit currently. But I will be watching the ball drop in NY with my other fave lady, Taylor Swift. Judy

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  18. Wow, Margo! That was sure an exciting New Year's Eve. We watch the crowds in Times Square and think they're nuts to be there. Especially during snow and rain. But this year it looks like Mother Nature will be kind to those on Broadway. It'll be chilly but dry. Hope you'll all have loved ones around you.

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  19. When we were much younger (in the 60's and 70's) we would go away with a group of friends to an inn or a lodge somewhere at various towns in Northern New England. There would be bands and dancing and partying all night long. But when we got older and wiser (ha) we started going out to dinner alone, and then that turned into an early dinner to beat the crowds and be home before all the people that shouldn't be driving were on the roads. Then it became holiday parties at our house with friends staying overnight or just a neighborhood party where neighbors walked home. Through the various ages of our lives we have adjusted to what we felt comfortable with, and now that seems to be picking up a nice prime rib or lobsters and shrimp and making a lovely meal at home and not contending with dangerous drivers on the road and feeling great in the morning since my husband doesn't have a drop and I have perhaps one glass of wine. We still enjoy the idea of the New Year rolling in and watch the ball drop on television either with family or friends or alone and it is just fine with us to have a quiet night now in the later years. And it would not be unheard of to find us both reading a book that night too, having a nice dessert and a cup of tea at midnight instead of champagne. Is this called old or just mellowed? Or is it "been there, done that" and now time for relaxing? Either way, Happy New Year to all. Our favorite readings material is mystery so this would be a great book to win; thank you.

    Cynthia B
    ceblain(AT)tmlponline(DOT)net

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  20. Too many crazies out and about. I'm happy to stay inside with my cats, some fancy snacks, and champagne!

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

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  21. I, too, am happy at home - with my sweetie (who is probably sleeping by 11), my cats, and a good book! jeaniedannheim at ymail dot com

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  22. We also enjoy a quiet evening at home. A nice dinner and relaxing. We hear the fireworks at midnight.
    robertscm01@comcast.net

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  23. I've never been to a New Year's Eve party though it is some thing I'd like to do. Mostly, we've spent the evening, watching TV. Some times we are in bed before the New Year arrives. dbahn@iw.net

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  24. Like you, we prefer a quiet evening at home... with lots of tasty finger foods to nosh on all night, some fun games & movies, and fireworks at midnight! :)

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  25. For the past couple of years, we've gone to a big party. I'm the unofficial photographer for our group and people expect me to be there with my camera. It's always way too crowded and people frequently misbehave. I sneak off and take a nap or read a book and my husband is always one of the ones to stay up until dawn. But not this year. This year we are staying home. As I mentioned on an earlier post we just bought our first house. We are looking forward to spending NYE in our own home in front of the fireplace with a glass of champagne. Can't guarantee we will make it to midnight though. :)

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  26. New Year's Day in front of the fireplace with a good book......Priceless!

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  27. Usually we sit and admire the Christmas tree and decorations knowing they will be gone on the weekend. A bottle of wine and watching the New Year's celebrations from the east coast top things off. We are in bed by 10 pm!

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  28. Home by the fire with a good book. I'm not a party animal.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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  29. I haven't been to a New Year's Eve party in years! There are too many crazies out and about, so I'm happy to sit at home in my jammies and watch tv. The most my husband and I may do is have a glass of wine....no party animals at this house!
    kjdugas(at)verizon(dot)net

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  30. The last couple of years we've spent New Years Eve at home. We'll probably do the same this year.
    tcuevas@iccable.com

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  31. I'll watch the ball drop with Anderson Cooper on CNN. I watch for awhile - when they start getting on my nerves I'll listen to some music for awhile. After a rest from the craziness on CNN I'll go back to watching until the New York ball drops. then I'll go to bed. Happy new Year
    txmlhl@yahoo.com

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  32. I'll be watching the ball drop on tv from home with my hubby home on military leave while our two sweet girls are asleep in bed (hopefully)
    Bryane20@aol.com

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  33. Unlike Jessica and George, my husband and I spend the evening at home. Thru the years we attended and also hosted a New Year's Eve Party at our church, which was only a few minutes from home. But, I have health issues now that prevent me from partying, so we're just happy to stay home and enjoy the evening. Happy New Year! �� �� �� �� ��. ruthmazur46@gmail.com

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  35. spending the evening at home with my hubby eating take out and watching the ball drop having a glass of champagne at midnight :) Alot warmer then being in Times Square!

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  36. I like to stay home and watch the ball drop on TV with friends.
    Thereadmaster@me.com

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  37. Well its not how I spend an evening but at the stroke of midnight I phone my mom and wish her a happy bday. Basically its a rush to see which family member can be the first to call. Typically one of her sisters win. dcgirl919@hotmail.com

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  38. Relaxing at home and reading. Cozy and perfect. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  39. I like to watch Dick Clark in Times Square on tv.

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  40. At home, hubby cooks rack of lamb and I drink champagne.

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

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  41. I will be at home curled up reading! angelhwk68@yahoo.com

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  42. we eat dinner out and then come home and watch movies with munchies and wine and then watch the ball drop. woohoo! annelovell12@yahoo.com

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  43. I stay home and watch tv or read with my cats.

    rjprazak6@gmail.com

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  44. Happy New Year, Jessica! (And you, too, Don and Renee!)

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  45. Congratulations Sue Farrell! Enjoy your New Year's scampi and a copy of Murder, She Wrote: Death of a Blue Blood. You are the winner of our random drawing. And to all of you staying home and staying cozy this New Year's Eve, we wish the happiest of New Years and good health and good fortune throughout 2015.

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    Replies
    1. I love this Series...it allows me to keep visiting with Jessica..
      Marilyn Watson

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  46. At home, relaxing with my husband. He's a retired police officer who calls New Year's Eve "Amateur Night". He won't be out on the roads that night, ever.

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  47. Wow...this is the one I really want to win. I can't believe I saw it so late...whew...I'll be out at Dinner and celebrating tomorrow night. It's a New year coming up...and I'm hoping for a happy fun one.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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