Friday, 10 October 2014

The Waif - Chapter Two

The Waif | Fiction: Crime Detective Mystery
by Julius Falconer

‘It’s the truth, I tell you,’ Sweetman insisted. ‘I wouldn’t tell lies to you two, now, would I?’ Beads of sweat glistened on his low forehead. He puffed away nervously, wondering, I suppose, whether I was going to press him for the true explanation. He had not long to wait.
‘Eric’s widow,’ I said, ‘told us you and he had planned some sort of raid on the industrial estate outside Sherburn.’
‘Well, maybe she did.’
‘So she was wrong?’
‘Well, maybe not altogether wrong.’
‘Come on, sunshine, for crying out loud, how can we hope to catch Eric’s murderer when you won’t tell us what happened last night?’ Nobs took a last drag at his cigarette before throwing the remains into the hearth. He sat for a moment stony-faced. Then he told us a rambling story, in which - Nobs happily confessed - all the names but his and Eric’s were false, to protect himself and his wife from repercussions. The gist of what he said is as follows.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Whittington Manor - Chapter 1

Whittington Manor | Historical Fiction
by Claire Voet

Sarah Whittington-Lambert waved goodbye to the last of her party guests as they drove down the long winding gravel driveway. She looked out on to the grounds from the main drawing-room window. They were wonderfully designed, perfectly manicured, with symmetrically patterned lawns and hedges, and the riots of colourful plants were in full bloom now that it was early spring.
Whittington Manor was located in the rural outskirts of Portsmouth, between Portchester and Fareham, and boasted eighteen opulently decorated rooms. The house was over four hundred years old and had been inhabited by the Whittington family for the last two centuries.
A small smile crept across Sarah’s face. It always gave her a sense of peace as she stood looking out at the grounds she and Joe had worked so hard on.  It was easy to recall the desperation of the war.  It still sent chills down her spine as she remembered the terrible tragedy her mother and Annie had endured and her brief and dreadfully unhappy marriage to Edward Hamilton. There were also those endless days without Joe ...


Thursday, 2 October 2014

My Parakeet was an Anarchist | Fiction: Short Stories

MELANCHOLY, THE HAPPY SPANIEL
Growing up as I did in the hinterlands of Nebraska was a profound and moving experience. The relentless winds of the Great Plains howled maudlin concerts across the prairie, with seething fields of golden grain set waving and heaving back and forth by torrid currents of the same. This was the land of my forefathers, and those who had come before had cultivated an untamed and wild soil in the latter days of Manifest Destiny. We who came after could only hope to follow their hearty example. It was a fantastic and exotic place to grow up.
As kids do, we would dash across those same fields of sod and furrow until our hearts fairly leapt from our chests in protest and exhaustion. The expanse of flat and endless black earth made the world seem infinite, and our dreams were rooted as fast as the mulch we turned. The triumphs of our collective youth were realized in these vistas, and along for the ride of a lifetime was Melancholy, our happy spaniel.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Over and Doubt - Crime Detective Mystery

...Leave it!’ I commanded peremptorily but kindly. ‘It’s nothing, nothing at all. Masters and Joseph will set it all to rights in no time. Shall we go into the drawing-room?’, and when I led the way, the company had no choice but to follow me. Tristram, however, delayed a few seconds to set upright a bottle of wine that was gently putting forth its contents on to the dining-room floor, and he moved quickly to draw back the curtains over the French windows which the alcoholic tide threatened to discolour irremediably. A movement in the late Mr Trentham’s garden attracted his attention. He caught a glimpse of a figure disappearing through the back gate in the museum garden wall, which was always kept bolted. He found it impossible to say with certainty whether the figure was male or female, although he inclined to the former. Thinking that the museum had perhaps been burgled, he ran into our garden and peered over the fence that divided us from the late Ralph Trentham’s premises. He saw on the lawn a shape that looked suspiciously like a body. Wasting no time on going round to Solomon Fothergill’s, he scaled the fence, approached the shape and, with a gasp …

Thursday, 25 September 2014

To Know the Road: Chapter Six - The Road North

To Know the Road | Historical Fiction / Romance
by Annie Coyle Martin

Victoria’s thoughts raced. What would happen? Would she be called down one day and told a husband had been found for her? Would she ever get out of this bedroom, where the walls leaned in over her? From her window she could see three houses opposite and the short lane down to the sea. The house faced east and on one side she could see a lime tree in the neighbour’s garden, on the other side, the street. The late summer had wound wearily away and finally it was September. Every day she checked the calendar, heard the bells of the Catholic Church ring at eight, at midday, and at six; on Sundays she heard the Protestant bell. She listened always for the sounds of the house, but saw no one but Kathleen who brought her meals. She read and reread the same books from her shelf, Jane Austen, Stevenson, Dickens. She was appalled at how accustomed she had become to her prison. Sunny afternoons she watched for a black cat with a white spot on its breast to step delicately round the corner of the house opposite and settle in the sun. She looked at the larch tree in the garden on the other side of the street and saw the edges of its leaves had become dried and crinkled. When the sun moved round to the back of the house and dusk shadowed her room, another day was ending. When rain washed down the window, obscuring the view, she was unbearably sad. At night, she awoke drowned in sweat and with a strange metal taste in her mouth, as if she sucked a copper coin; and she thought they were trying to poison her.

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

Friday, 19 September 2014

A Genuine Fake - Chapter One

A Genuine Fake | Fiction: Thriller / Suspense
by Fred Maddox

Tracy was oblivious to the dozen or so people gathered around the frozen earth of the graveside. Or of Father James’ words as he conducted the burial service, his voice nothing more than a faraway drone. She stared vacantly at the solitary old oak tree, just beyond the moss covered dry stone wall which marked the ancient churchyard’s boundary. Its thick, gnarled trunk, scarred from the scores of lovers carving their undying love for each other into its weather beaten bark, giving testament to its decades of claiming that lone position as its own. Its bare misshapen branches creaked and groaned as the chilling north east wind whistled through them. What tales this mighty oak could tell, of the many christenings and weddings and funerals it had witnessed, and indeed, it would be more than likely this magnificent tree had witnessed all three services for the same person.