Friday, 1 April 2016

An Anthology of Christmas Murders - Terror, Tinsel and Turkey edited by Jeremy Moiser

Terror, tinsel and turkey - Contribution by Harry Riley

Alan Weywent was an overweight flamboyant fraudster, whose cut-price double-glazing company of A-Wey-Went-Windows went bust. He had had full order books when the firm closed down, but his suppliers had pulled the plug because of too many unpaid bills. He was faced with litigation from customers who’d forked out in advance for replacement windows and conservatories that would never get built. Also there were building-contractors owed tens of thousands of pounds for unpaid work and materials. This crooked businessman moved from town to town around the Midlands, setting up bogus companies, preying on elderly vulnerable customers and then vanishing with their hard-earned savings. His double-glazing scam had proved incredibly profitable, and he was sorry to see it go, but a very healthy portfolio of virtually untraceable offshore-accounts had softened the blow. Now he would have to lie low until the heat cooled. 

Moving to the small town of Tillon on Trent in Staffordshire, he had rented a large house in a decent area and attempted to bury his past, adopting a new persona, with a splendid new name: Eugene O’Brady-Smith: a wealthy book-loving bachelor, studying creative writing. He looked for a local group of writers and quickly struck gold. Because he was smooth-tongued and used to getting his own way, it was not long before he was appointed chairman of the Tillon and District Writing Group. It was at one of their weekly group meetings that he made his announcement: