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Rivals on the Edge

The manager of an alpine hotel faces fierce rivalry with the neighbouring resort. To get a step ahead, he’s arranged a truly exceptional New Year’s Eve event: a “whodunnit” evening for selected crime thriller fans. Unfortunately, however, things do not go according to plan. Suddenly, he finds his friend lying dead in a gorge, and then, one of his guests is murdered. The hero soon finds himself in the middle of a deadly game. He is supposed to be the next victim – unless he can get to the killer first...

Author: Hansi Seer
Illustration: istockphoto.com/lorenzo puricelli
ca. 212 Pages

Starting at 26.95 GBP
incl. VAT plus delivery costs
(Italic: will be replaced with your input)

Abstract

A crime thriller compared with Agatha Christie, with two dead bodies and a surprising twist.

Settings

The alpine hotel Crystal Lodge The alpine hotel Sunday River The mountain The ski shed

Time

Present

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Characters :

8 male and 6 female roles

Hotel owner and main male character

Simon Frost, owner of the alpine hotel Crystal Lodge; passionate skier; constantly trying to keep his family hotel going and to compete with his rival, Peter Best; organises a crime evening on New Year’s Eve that does not unfold as planned; attempts to find out who the real murderer is while keeping the real goings-on hidden from his guests and protecting them from danger; finally unmasks his friend Lucas as the ‘crossword puzzle murderer’.

Rival of the main male character

Peter Best, Simon’s rival; owner of the hotel Sunday River; lacks creative ideas to attract customers with the result that he plants a spy in Simon’s hotel and copies his rival’s ideas; considered the prime suspect; revealed to be innocent; assists Simon in his hunt to find the murderer; the rivals become friends in the end.

Friend of the male hero and the murderer

Lucas Miller, Simon’s childhood friend; aspiring pianist; since childhood he has been tormented by jealousy of his friend Simon; stages his own death and plans to kill Simon without being detected and to steal from his hotel; finally apprehended as the murderer.

Chef and spy at the hotel of the main male character (is murdered)

Benjamin Kurtz, referred to as Ben, Simon’s chef; large, burly man; spies for Peter Best, with whom he is secretly friendly; struck a death blow in the kitchen with a pan on New Year’s Eve.

Jeweller and businessman

Martin Harrison, a jeweller from London; elderly man who is with the young model, Andrea Kirst; believes that anything can be bought with money; business practices are not exemplary; not a good skier.

Young, beautiful model

Andrea Kirst, a young, beautiful model from London; in a relationship with Martin Harrison, but does not miss any opportunity to flirt with other men; flirts with Kurt Stevens straightaway.

Sprightly, intelligent elderly lady

Mona Winter, elderly woman around sixty; a genius with an IQ of over 160; speaks seventeen languages; loves contests, whether of a sporty or intellectual nature; inter alia a world fencing champion and the winner of numerous general knowledge contests; passionate love letters, which Simon stumbles upon during his investigations, testify to an active love life of the likeable older lady.

Likeable, somewhat masculine cleptomaniac

Cleopatra Jenkins, a middle-aged woman who dresses in very masculine clothes; short, grey hair; well-nourished; cleptomaniac but likeable.

Married couple that gets a divorce in the end

Kurt Stevens, husband of Silvia; runs a lingerie shop in Bristol together with his wife; notorious philanderer; embarks on an affair with Andrea Kirst that ultimately costs him his marriage. Silvia Stevens, Kurt's wife; endures the escapades of her husband; after the incident with Andrea Kirst, she eventually files for divorce.

Unemployed mechanic (is murdered)

John Smith, unemployed mechanic from Manchester; loud and rather simple-minded; catches Lucas in the act of staging his own death and tries to blackmail him with the result that Lucas stabs him.

Chambermaid 1 in the hotel of the main male character

Stefanie, chambermaid in Simon’s hotel; long, blonde hair, about twenty; very shy and easily embarrassed.

Chambermaid 2 in the hotel of the main male character

Marie, also a chambermaid in Simon’s hotel; knows the hotel business and has an extreme aversion to Peter Best.

Kitchen assistant in the hotel of the main male character

Mark, kitchen assistant in Simon’s hotel; a gaunt young man with a goatee; minor role.

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Extract

The small bell in Simon’s hand announced that everything was ready. Its shrill sound summoned the guests for a drink in the lounge and marked the start of the game at the same time. As both host and moderator of the evening, Simon had chosen to wear a plain, dark suit. That his guests would dress up for the evening went without saying because it was part of the game. His friend Lucas had not appeared yet; however, Simon had at least come up with an idea as to how to explain his disappearance and therefore the lack of musical entertainment. It was not great but it was the best he could do at such short notice.
And there they came! First Mona Winter descended the staircase. She had arranged her grey hair in a bun at the nape of her neck and was wearing a tweed suit. She also wore white gloves and a sword around her hips. Simon smiled and held out his hand to her as she reached the last step to lead her into the lounge.
“Miss Marple, it is an honour for me to welcome you to my modest home.”
“I look a bit ridiculous in this suit,” she chuckled, “but I’m looking forward to the game. I’m really excited; I can’t wait to see what you’ve lined up for us.”
“You should be excited.” Simon took a gallant bow and went back to wait at the stairs where his next guest had already appeared.
He had almost not recognised the person, but it was actually Andrea Kirst. She was wearing a grey wig, had draped her slim body in a grey costume and covered her long, straight legs in thick woollen tights. Her shoes were realistic imitations of the comfortable shoes Miss Marple wore. She clutched a matching handbag in her hands.
“Am I not the spitting image of the real Jane Marple?” she exclaimed, beaming, “I’ve spent the past few weeks watching all her films and I had these things made to measure. I love Miss Marple!”
“You look magnificent!” Although Simon had preferred her in her white, tight-fitting ski suit with her hair loose, it was the truth.
Behind her, Martin Harrison stomped down the stairs, scowling. He looked very unhappy in his dark suit and tugged nervously on the small walrus moustache stuck on to his upper lip, “I look so foolish! No man has ever looked so foolish, not even Hercule Poirot!”
“Don’t listen to him!” Andrea Kirst rolled her eyes, “He’ll soon get used to it.”
“No, I will not because I don’t want to get used to it!” He pinched his girlfriend’s tweed-covered bottom. “That’s not why I’m here,” he whispered in her ear while she swatted his hand away. Yet the more-than-obvious gesture did not seem to have any effect on him. “Let’s go back to our room,” he murmured, “We’ll come back down for dinner later.”
However, Andrea Kirst ignored him and went into the lounge, undaunted. Martin Harrison followed her with a greedy look on his face. Simon moved discreetly over to one side and caught sight of Cleopatra Jenkins at the top of the stairs. She was wearing another black suit, but naturally a different one from the one she had arrived in. Even her eyes were made-up darkly. This time she had dispensed with her hat and for the first time, Simon saw her short grey hair that was neatly shaved at the back of her neck. Her leather shoes with white gaiters clattered softly on the stairs as she descended.
“Monsieur Poirot,” Simon greeted her.
“Mr Frost,” she greeted him in return with a slight nod of her head in the typically nasal voice for which Poirot was known before following Martin Harrison and his girlfriend sedately into the lounge.
When all the Miss Marples and Hercule Poirots were assembled before the fireplace, Simon stepped forward and cleared his throat. Grand speeches were not his forte. It was something he did not like about his job and for this reason had hoped that Lucas would take on this role for him instead. Yet since his friend had left him completely high and dry, he would just have to take the bull by the horns. He cleared his throat once more and the room became so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.
“Honoured guests. Today is a truly special day because not only are we ending the old year, but we’re also here to solve a heinous crime. All of you, the most intelligent minds and the craftiest investigators of all time, have gathered here to discover and solve a terrible murder. In this room, you will find hidden clues that will lead you, along with certain powers of deduction, to a crime that was committed in this house. Seek out the signs, investigate them and find out who the victim is. If you overcome this task, you will find further clues that will lead you to the perpetrator. Whoever solves the entire case first, wins the prize – a week’s holiday in this hotel, free of charge, whenever you like. Is everything clear so far?”
“Of course, we’re not stupid, you know!” The booming voice of John Smith broke the silence. Someone snickered. All the others stared expectantly at Simon.
Andrea Kirst squinted against the blazing fire in the fireplace. “And when will the famous pianist be here?”
“Unfortunately, I cannot tell you that, otherwise I would give too much of the game away. I’ll say this much though: perhaps he’s part of the game,” Simon lied. “In the meantime, you’ll have to make do with me. Some refreshments are placed behind you. Once you’ve fortified yourselves, you’re free to look for the first clue.”
The Marples and Poirots did not have to be told twice. In addition to glasses of champagne, there were bite-sized morsels of food, diced cheese, olives and canapés on several small tables that had been placed against the wall. While the guests descended hungrily on them, Simon sat down at the piano. He was not an accomplished pianist by any means, but he was certainly good enough to create a mood. A couple of particularly eager detectives skipped the refreshments and immediately started hunting for the hidden clue. While Simon’s fingers ran over the keys after a fashion, he checked out of the corner of his eye to see whether someone had already noticed the scarf that lay on the mantelpiece – it was the clue. It was meant to lead the guests to the supposed murder victim, played by the shy chambermaid, Stefanie. For this reason, she would leave the lounge after serving the refreshments. At the moment, however, nobody was showing any interest in the scarf. Amused, Simon saw some of the guests diligently examining each knife on the large dining table and even crawling under the small tables, causing them to totter precariously. Others marched across the carpet, armed with large magnifying glasses, finally even banishing Simon from his piano stool. That might also have been because it was no real pleasure to listen to his play. Simon’s playing sounded so dreadful that Mona Winter placed one white-gloved hand sympathetically on his shoulder.
“You are very brave, Mr Frost. We really appreciate it.”
Simon was irritated. Previously, he had always played competently, why did it sound so disharmonious today? He could only put it down to the fact that something was wrong with the piano. Some of the keys had not reacted in their usual way to his touch; others had sounded muffled or tinny. Simon was still wondering about it when the joy of discovery of one of the Miss Marple detectives knew no bounds, even in the face of the piano, and when she opened it up. A triumphant shout was heard. All stopped abruptly at what they were doing and stared spellbound at the Miss Marple, who, grinning broadly, produced a sheet of paper from among the piano strings and held it aloft like a trophy. Simon joined the keenly whispering detectives who were now all clustered curiously around the significant sheet. It had a crossword puzzle on it.

Johanna Marthens

Johanna Marthens was born in South Africa in 1965. She’s the oldest daughter of a wine planter and a German actress. To fund for her studies of German and English Literature she wrote erotic stories and scripts for daily soaps. Today she lives near Berlin breeding horses and writing for PersonalNOVEL.

Frequency of appearance

We have summarised all personalisation options for this book here. We also listed the Frequency of appearance for the respective details. You do not need to fill in all options – you can also use the defaults.

Hotel owner and main male character
The hero’s first name is 765 x
The hero’s surname is 33 x
The colour of the hero’s hair is 3 x
The colour of the hero's eyes is 1 x
The hero’s hotel is called 2 x
Rival of the main male character
His rival’s first name (male) is 150 x
His rival’s surname (male) is 136 x
His rival’s hotel is called 11 x
Friend of the male hero and the murderer
The first name of the pianist and murderer (male) is 123 x
The surname of the pianist and murderer (male) is 6 x
Chef and spy at the hotel of the main male character (is murdered)
The chef’s first name (male) is 3 x
The chef’s surname (male) is 1 x
The chef’s nickname is 100 x
Jeweller and businessman
The jeweller’s first name (male) is 43 x
The jeweller’s surname (male) is 73 x
The jeweller lives in 1 x
Young, beautiful model
The model’s first name (female) is 41 x
The model’s surname (female) is 40 x
The model lives in 1 x
Sprightly, intelligent elderly lady
The first name of the pleasant, elderly lady is 63 x
The surname of the pleasant, elderly lady is 61 x
Likeable, somewhat masculine cleptomaniac
The cleptomaniac’s first name (female) is 48 x
The cleptomaniac’s surname (female) is 47 x
Married couple that gets a divorce in the end
The first name of the unfaithful husband is 44 x
The first name of the deceived wife is 16 x
The surname of the married couple is 82 x
The first letter of the surname is 2 x
The couple lives in 2 x
Unemployed mechanic (is murdered)
The mechanic’s first name (male) is 41 x
The mechanic’s surname (male) is 60 x
The mechanic lives in 5 x
Chambermaid 1 in the hotel of the main male character
The first name of the shy chambermaid is 29 x
Chambermaid 2 in the hotel of the main male character
The first name of the experienced chambermaid is 10 x
Kitchen assistant in the hotel of the main male character
The first name of the kitchen assistant (male) is 7 x

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