Lady in Red by Tessa Buckley, #extract


I am happy to bring you an extract from Lady in Red,by Tessa Buckley, which is  a middlegrade mystery / detective story. It will particularly appeal to 9 - 12 year old readers. First, here's a little about the story, which is a standalone book in a series of three:

Pursuing the truth can be a dangerous game…

School’s out for the summer, and Eye Spy Investigations have a new case - looking for Lady in Red, a lost masterpiece by Victorian painter, Gabriel Pascoe.

The clock is ticking for Alex and Donna, because the artist’s house, Acacia Villa, where their friend Jake lives, is due to be demolished, and vital clues may be destroyed. And Alex has an additional problem: he is terrified of snakes, and Jake has a pet snake called Queenie…

As the twins pursue their enquiries, they come up against the man who wants to demolish Acacia Villa. But Mr Mortimer is the godfather of their baby half-sister, Sophie, and criticising him could open up family rifts, which have only just healed.

Then Queenie goes missing, setting in motion a disastrous train of events that will turn the search for Lady in Red into the twins’ most dangerous case yet.


Alex, Donna and their friends Billie, Miles and Jake are enjoying a barbecue at Mr Pascoe’s home, when they are interrupted by Mr Mortimer, the man who wants to buy Acacia Villa from Mr Pascoe. Unlike the others. Mr Mortimer is unaware that Jake has a harmless, but rather terrifying pet snake…


Mr Pascoe, who had been looking increasingly angry as he listened to Mr Mortimer, struggled to his feet. “I am not interested in your money, sir, as I have already told you several times. Now please leave!” He swayed slightly as he stood up, and he seemed to have difficulty getting his words out.

“Fred, calm down!” Billie’s mum said, putting a hand on his arm.

Then, out of the darkness behind Mr Mortimer, came Jake’s voice. “Is this man bothering you, Mr Pascoe?”

At the sound of the voice, Mortimer swung round. His face visibly paled. Emerging out of the darkness behind the circle of candlelight was a disembodied snake’s head. Queenie’s head poked forward, and her tongue darted gently back and forth, as she stared curiously at the visitor. To anyone who didn’t know that Jake was standing in the shadows, supporting her, the snake’s head would look like an apparition

After a few tense seconds, Jake moved forward into the light. Mortimer stepped back hurriedly. For an instant, before he pulled himself together, he looked terrified. “What the hell is that?” he said.

“This is Queenie, my pet snake,” Jake said, in the same quiet, firm voice he had used before. “She’s a bit unpredictable, and I don’t think she’s in a very friendly mood just now.” He began to advance slowly across the patio towards Mortimer.

Beads of sweat had begun to appear on Mr Mortimer’s forehead.  It was obvious he was at least as afraid of snakes as I was. He threw up his hands in a gesture of surrender.

          “OK, you win. I’m leaving.” Picking up his briefcase and keeping well clear of Jake and Queenie, he retreated the way he had come. Then, before he reached the corner of the building, he turned back for one parting shot. His voice shook very slightly as he stared at Mr Pascoe. “The offer is still open. Think about it, before your house falls down on top of you.”  

Cat and Mouse say: go Queenie!

About the Author



Tessa Buckley was an inveterate scribbler as a child, and spent much of her time writing and illustrating stories. After studying Interior Design, she spent fifteen years working for architects and designers. She took up writing again after her young daughter complained that she couldn’t find enough adventure stories to read. This led, in 2016, to the publication of  Eye Spy, the first in a series for 9-12 year olds about two teen detectives. There are now two more books in the series: Haunted, which was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2017,, and Lady in Red. She lives by the sea in Essex and recently completed an Open University arts degree.

You can follow Tessa here: Website  |  Facebook | Goodreads 

Book links: Amazon UK paperback |  Amazon UK ebook  |  Amazon US ebook  |  ibooks  |  Matador bookstore 

Thanks to Tessa Buckley and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the extract and a place on the tour. 


  1. Thank you so much for taking part in the blog tour and posting the extract from Lady in Red. Really appreciated.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts