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Written by Elliott Hay

The Unveiled Lady (a Vigilauntie Justice short) ebook

The Unveiled Lady (a Vigilauntie Justice short) ebook

knitting, tea, gossip … justice

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This story is exclusive to my website – it’s not available from other retailers.

What’s a bit of blackmail between friends?

In a quaint café in the heart of London, two older women sit in awkward silence. Sensitive Baz nurses her tea, while driven Peggy tosses back endless espressos.

The silence is shattered when Peggy’s estranged sister crashes into their sanctuary, bringing word of an ominous threat.

Driven by an unwavering sense of justice, Baz and Peggy find themselves drawn into a game of secrets and lies. For the two friends, this isn’t just about helping Peggy’s sister; it’s about an affront to common decency. When they uncover the truth, the justice they serve up won’t be bound by the law.

The Unveiled Lady is a short story in the Vigilauntie Justice series – cosy(ish) noir(ish) stories set in London. The stories do sometimes have on-page violence but it's never graphic. There's minimal swearing and no romance or sex – but there's heaps of queer content and found family.

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You've got questions; I've got answers


Can I read a sample?

Chapter 1. In which a stranger calls

Baz pressed the needle into her embroidery, sneaking a look at Peggy on the other side of the table as she did so. ‘Ow!’ She’d stabbed herself with the needle. Again.

Peggy looked up but didn’t say anything. Beyond the café’s window, the drizzle had let up but the sky remained as grey and foreboding as it had been since Baz had awoken.

Baz had already tried making conversation several times that morning. Each time, Peggy had grunted a monosyllabic response. It wasn’t that Baz didn’t like Peggy – she very much did. And it wasn’t that the pair didn’t have anything in common. Nor was it that they didn’t have anything to talk about.

The truth seemed to be that Carole’s absence unsettled Peggy. Her partner was spending the week with her daughter. Carole had four kids – Baz was fairly certain of that. And she gathered Peggy didn’t get on with the one Carole was visiting.

Or maybe the problem was that without Madge here to facilitate conversation, it just didn’t flow as smoothly as usual. Like Carole, Madge was away visiting family. Her sister Jackie lived in Manchester and Madge had gone to spend a few days with her.

Whatever the reason for the silence, it was making Baz uncomfortable.

Every morning, the four women met up at Wellbeloved Café in the heart of south-east London for two hours. They lingered over their beverages, had a bit of a natter, and worked on their respective crafting projects. Baz liked the bustling coffee shop– it was warm and homey, yet tasteful and stylish. The building that housed it was several hundred years old and the interior was bright and inviting while still maintaining much of the character.

When the bell above the front door jangled, Baz instinctively turned to look. The figure in the door stood slightly hunched. They wore a tattered tracksuit with the hood pulled up. Despite the miserable weather, they wore sunglasses. The lower portion of their face was obscured by a mask – one of those cheap blue surgical ones.

But one thing stood out in sharp contrast to the person’s overall demeanour. Their shoes.
Those very shoes kept popping up in Baz’s social media feed and on her internet searches. She’d looked at them and had been seriously tempted – until she’d spotted the price tag. It was clear from looking at them that they’d be expensive, but she still hadn’t been prepared for the reality. She’d wondered who would spend more than £1,000 on shoes.

Apparently, she had the answer now.

Still, Baz was surprised when the person – instead of walking to the café’s front counter – sidled over to where she and Peggy sat.

When the interloper lowered herself into Madge’s chair, Peggy finally looked up. With a start, she uttered a single syllable. ‘Flip.’

Baz was surprised by this. Although Peggy didn’t have Carole’s potty mouth, she didn’t normally pepper her speech with faux-swears either. Baz had a bit of a soft spot for words like gosh, sugar, darn – and flip. But Peggy wasn’t the sort.

Peggy scowled. ‘What are you doing here? And what on God’s green earth are you wearing?’

The newcomer lowered their voice, such that Baz could barely catch the words. ‘I thought perhaps we could speak in private.’

Peggy cast a glance at Baz and gave her a quick wink before turning her gaze back to the other person. ‘Well, you thought wrong.’

The stranger harrumphed. Something about the sound struck Baz. It felt almost – but not quite – familiar. ‘Perhaps I made a mistake in coming here.’

Peggy scoffed. ‘I’ll say you did.’

‘I need your help, PP,’ the new arrival hissed.

How will I get my book?

You will receive your choice of epub (suitable for most ereaders or devices), mobi (for Kindle), or PDF files (for reading in your browser). Files will be delivered by BookFunnel.

How long is this book?

Estimated reading time: 0–1 hours

5k words / 32 words

Why should I buy direct from the author?

When I published my first book in January 2020, someone at work laughed and asked me when I was going to quit my job. 

There's this perception out there that authors are wealthy people. And I'm sure the big names (e.g. Richard Osman, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, etc.) are doing just fine.

But it's not like that for indie authors. It's tough out there. There are great, amazing things about being an indie author. But most of us aren't making bank.

You know who is making money out of books? Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.

You may have noticed a move in recent years of indie authors selling their books directly to you. There's a reason for that. 

If you buy a book for 0.99 from Amazon, the author gets to keep maybe 0.26 of that. Maybe. It depends on the file size. And they won't even get that for around 3 months. But if you buy a book from an author for 0.99, the author gets to keep around 0.83. And we get that money within days.

Because that first book I mentioned? Four years later, it hasn't come close to paying for itself. 

If you can't buy direct, libraries are a great way to get books for free while still helping authors get their fair share. 

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Fun short story

I was surprised that the blurb said this one only featured Peggy and Baz. I thought it odd that those two were left alone, but the explanation makes sense. The characters work well together in the story, and it was good to see a little more of Peggy's family and background. Overall, it's a fun short story that fits with the canon.