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Legend in Green Velvet

Cover of Legend in Green Velvet

Legend in Green Velvet

Scotland is Susan's passion and obsession--and the opportunity to join a Highland dig is a dream come true for the young archaeology student. But then a sinister stranger slips Susan a cryptic message and is later found viciously slain. A mysterious peril has emerged from the mists to haunt Susan, sending her running for her life in the company of handsome, unconventional laird Jamie Erskine. For she has an unseen enemy hiding in the shadows--someone who, for some unknown reason, is going to great lengths to frame her for murder . . . and to bury Susan, if necessary, in this land she loves.

Scotland is Susan's passion and obsession--and the opportunity to join a Highland dig is a dream come true for the young archaeology student. But then a sinister stranger slips Susan a cryptic message and is later found viciously slain. A mysterious peril has emerged from the mists to haunt Susan, sending her running for her life in the company of handsome, unconventional laird Jamie Erskine. For she has an unseen enemy hiding in the shadows--someone who, for some unknown reason, is going to great lengths to frame her for murder . . . and to bury Susan, if necessary, in this land she loves.

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  • Chapter One

    The gravestones were black.

    Jetty crosses, ebon urns and tablets, sable angels folding sable wings over somber stones ... A Devil's graveyard; a cemetery of Satanists.

    In actual fact Susan did not find the sight at all sinister. In the mellow summer sunshine, nestled cozily among emerald grass, the black stones had a certain bizarre charm. As Susan looked down on the cemetery she felt not a single premonitory shiver. Which only goes to prove that premonitions, like history, are more or less bunk.

    She had an excellent view from one of the bridges that arch superbly over the gorge separating the lower section of Edinburgh from the high ridge of the old city. Edinburgh is three different cities: the drab, sprawling suburbs of the recent past; the elegant, formal squares of the eighteenth century town; and, dominating the skyline, the tangled closes and wynds of the ancient capital. From the heights of Castle Rock, more than four hundred feet above sea level, the old streets slant down toward the foot of Arthur's Seat; and the mile-long slopes are crowded with buildings whose turreted, gabled, and towered roofs form a skyline unsurpassed in any city of the world.

    Susan had fallen in love with it that morning, when she came out of the station after the all night train ride from London. The weather had been fine; the stone battlements of Edinburgh Castle were outlined against a translucent sky, and the tall old houses reached up out of lavender shadows like elderly aristocrats stretching toward the warmth of the sun. Susan was staring bemusedly out the taxi window when the driver's sour voice shattered her reverie.

    "Aye, aye, gawk awa'," he remarked disagreeably. "Rich, spoiled Americans, wasting guid siller on pleasure and paying nae heed to the struggles of an oppressed people ... "

    "I've come here to work," Susan said, with perfect good humor; it would take more than a grumpy taxi driver to destroy her mood on such a morning, and the man's accent delighted her. "I'm an archaeology student, and I expect to spend the summer on my hands and knees, digging. And living in a leaky tent. At least I assume it will leak. I'm not getting paid, either. I saved the plane fare by baby-sitting and doing housework last summer. Who's oppressing you?"

    It was tantamount to removing a plug. The tirade continued all the way down Princes Street. When they turned into the neatly squared-off streets in the "new" city, Susan interrupted. She suspected that the lecture would have continued indefinitely if she had not.

    "You're a Scottish Nationalist," she said, pleased. "How fascinating!"

    "Fascinating!" The driver's voice expressed ineffable scorn; no one in the world can express it better than a Scot. "Five meelion souls writhing in the mailed fist o' Sassenach oppression, and ye call it -- "

    "We broke away from the Sassenachs ourselves," Susan reminded him. "What are you mad at me for? I don't know much about the subject -- at least I didn't, until a few minutes ago -- but you ought to expect an American to be sympathetic about home rule."

    The driver was silent for a moment, maneuvering the car through a crowded intersection.

    "Aye, weel," he said thoughtfully. "That's true. Nae doot I've been a wee bit unfair. But ye'd be better off studying some moder-r-rn history, instead of delving in the past."

    "But it's Scottish history we're digging up," Susan said. "Macbeth and Duncan -- the Picts -- Robert the Bruce ... Aren't you proud of your history?"

    It was an unfortunate question, for it started another lecture that lasted until they drew up in front of the small, unpretentious hotel Susan had selected to fit her limited budget.

About the Author-
  • Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. She was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.

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  • Austin American Statesman “This is Peters at the top of her form.”
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Legend in Green Velvet
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Elizabeth Peters
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