Twelve Minutes to Midnight (The Penelope Tredwell Mysteries)
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Penelope Tredwell is the feisty thirteen-year-old orphan heiress of Victorian Britain's bestselling magazine, the Penny Dreadful. Her spine-chilling tales--concealed under the pen name Montgomery Finch--are gripping the public. One day she receives a letter from the governor of the Bedlam madhouse requesting Finch's help to investigate the asylum's strange goings-on. Every night at precisely twelve minutes to midnight, the inmates all begin feverishly writing-incoherent ramblings that Penelope quickly realizes are frightening visions of the century to come. But what is causing this phenomenon? In the first book of this smart new series, Penelope is drawn into a thrilling mystery more terrifying than anything she could ever imagine!
in search of someone else. “Has your uncle brought you here tonight? I must admit, I hadn’t spotted the famous Montgomery Flinch in the audience. Was he keeping watch from the gallery whilst he researched his next tale of terror?” Penny returned the young journalist’s smile, trying to hide her irritation at this unexpected obstacle in their path. “Good evening, Mr Barrett,” she replied. “No, I’m afraid my uncle isn’t here this evening. He’s still ensconced at his house in the country working on
marred by a thunderous look. Facing her, Bradburn wrung his grimy cap in his hands, the scar-faced orderly shifting uncomfortably beneath her gaze. “No choice?” Lady Cambridge replied sharply. “No choice but to go against all our carefully planned arrangements? No choice but to raise me from my bed at this ungodly hour? May I remind you, Mr Bradburn, that I am a recently widowed Lady of unblemished reputation. If anyone should have seen you sullying my doorstep—” “I promise you, Lady
“What have you done?” Penny tried to pull herself free from his clutches, but she was too weak to fight back. She could feel his grimy fingers tightening around her neck. “You’ve woken them all,” he snarled, his sour breath scouring her skin. “The whole blasted lot of them. They’re hammering fit to wake Morris himself. Make them stop.” Penny could feel the blood pounding in her brain. As Bradburn squeezed the air from her lungs, she had just enough breath to croak a single word in reply.
my dear fellow! How long is it since I last saw you? Was it at the Lodge?” “Er, it could have been,” ventured Monty. Penny saw the sweat beading Monty’s forehead – he didn’t have any idea who this was. She coughed once politely, anxious to turn the man’s attention away from Monty to give him the chance to collect himself. The man glanced across at her. “And who’s this, Monty?” he asked, raising his eyebrow. “She’s a little young to be your secretary, isn’t she?” Penelope shook her head,
– stories of supernatural horror and suspense. Not scientific romances about moon men and rocket ships. Are you sure you’re not Jules Verne or perhaps H. G. Wells? After all,” he added pompously, “I am Montgomery Flinch.” Sitting next to him, Penny’s hand reached out towards Monty in warning, but it was already too late. Kemp’s face crumpled with rage and he flung himself across the table, scattering the papers that fell like snow-white petals to the floor. He grabbed hold of the lapels of