|The Stone Wife|
To be published September 16, 2014; Soho Crime
Genre: crime fiction, police procedural
First chapter, first paragraph:"Will somebody start me at five hundred?"Book description: At a Bath auction house, a large slab of carved stone is up for sale, but three masked robbers shoot and kill the highest bidder, a professor who has recognized the female figure carved in the stone as Chaucer’s Wife of Bath. The masked would-be thieves flee, leaving the stone behind. Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond and his team are assigned to investigate, and the stone is moved into Diamond’s office so he can research its origins. The carving causes such difficulties that he starts to think it has jinxed him. (publisher)
A card with a number was raised near the front.
Thank you. Five-fifty. Six hundred. Six-fifty. Seven. Seven-fifty at the back. Eight."
The bidding was keen by West Country standards. Morton's auction house in Bath was used to lots being knocked down almost at once. This had a sense of energy even though the faces were giving nothing away. (from an advance uncopyedited edition; final copy may differ)
Based on the opening paragraph and the book description, would you keep reading?