An Inspector Calls

Here’s a little story I wrote at Holmfirth Writers on Monday.  Hope you enjoy it!

 

“Are you done, then?”

The Inspector – a wiry, sharp-suited man in his late 30’s – finished writing and put his notebook in his pocket.

“Not yet. I need to look at your yard.”

The two men walked round the corner into an alley, which broadened out to form a yard behind the building, lit only by the pale glow that filtered through the window blinds.

The Inspector looked at his companion, a bearded, rotund man with indeterminate stains on his Motorhead T-shirt.

“This belongs to your establishment, yes?”

The other man grinned uneasily. “Well, yeah, but other people are always dumping their rubbish here. Bastards!” He moved towards the assortment of bin bags and dustbins occupying the far side of the yard.

“No! Don’t touch anything. This is all potential evidence relevant to my investigation.”

“Right you are, Inspector.”

The Inspector spotted a dark, viscous liquid dripping from a drainpipe attached to the corner of the wall. He opened his briefcase and produced a small plastic bottle, which he held under the pipe to collect a few drips, then sealed it and put it in a transparent bag.

“For testing later,” he said. “This pipe seems to emanate from your property. Neighbours been using your sink too, have they?”

The two men now moved towards the dustbins. The Inspector picked up the first loose bin bag and began to open it. Then he stopped dead in his tracks. Stretching out from behind the nearest dustbin was a human hand. Quickly, he moved aside the bins and bags surrounding it to reveal a prone male figure, its curly brown hair stained with blood. It was quite still. The Inspector examined it briefly, but it remained limp and motionless. He turned to the other man.

“Is this man known to you?”

“Never seen ‘im before in me life.”

“Really?” The Inspector pointed to the body’s left hand, in which sat a half-eaten burger wrapped in paper. “I believe that’s one of yours, isn’t it?” Sure enough, the logo on the paper matched the one above the door of the building.

He glared at the other man. “Stay where you are, and don’t touch anything. I need to collect more evidence.” With his phone, he took a couple of dozen photos of the body, the drainpipe and the rest of the yard. From his case he retrieved some more plastic bottles, into which he put samples from various bin bags and the ground around the body. His notebook reappeared, and he filled several pages with writing.

“This is nothing to do with me,” pleaded the other man, a look of desperation on his face, “people are always wandering in here and dumping things. Don’t blame it on me.” The Inspector studiously ignored him.

As he was working, a seagull flew into the yard and landed on the head of the prone figure. It began to peck at the remains of the burger.

“Oi!” The noise came from the hitherto motionless figure. Its right arm now flailed wildly at the gull, which flew away. The head now lifted itself from the ground and stared at the other two men. “Who are you?” said the man on the floor, then an expression of horror came over his face and he vomited copiously on the ground. He staggered to his feet, looked at the burger in his hand and threw it into the nearest bin. Then he stumbled away, groaning.

“Well, that’s all right, then,” said the bearded man, hopefully.

“I don’t think so,” replied the Inspector. “Judging by what I’ve seen on this inspection, I’m not surprised your customers are throwing up. Your food is a hazard to human life. I’m closing you down.”

 

Life Imitates Art

Readers of this blog will know that over the past year I have been writing a novel about a woman’s relationship with her elderly father, who moves into a Care Home during the course of the book.  I am in the process of editing a draft now – watch this space for further news.

My own life has been echoing the plot of the novel during the last few weeks, as I have been helping my Mum move into Greenacres Residential Care Home, just down the road from my own home in Meltham, West Yorks.  Greenacres seems to be a very good place of its kind, as far as we can tell – it’s clean and pleasant, the staff seem competent and caring and we’ve heard good reports about it.  Mum seems to be settling in reasonably well so far, touch wood, though of course it’s a big upheaval for her.  She has got to know some other residents, and seems to like the food.  And its comforting to know that she is safe and well looked-after.

I hope Mum will be very happy at Greenacres. And I certainly hope that our experience doesn’t continue to follow the plot of the novel.  My character Herbert – who unlike Mum has dementia – thinks he’s in a POW camp and spends much of his time trying to escape!  You can get a flavour of this from a blog post I did a little while ago: https://timwordsblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/prisoner-of-memory/

So let’s hope that, in this instance, life doesn’t imitate art too closely!

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome, Katy

Today, I am delighted to welcome fellow Crooked Cat author Katy Johnson – who hosted me a few weeks ago.  Hi Katy, nice to see you again.

Hello Tim and thank you very much for inviting me onto your blog.

You’re very welcome.  I hear you have a book coming out soon.

Yes. My new psychological/coming-of-age novel The Silence is coming out on June 8th. I’m excited but also quite nervous! 

Tell us more …

Here’s what it’s about:

Can you ever truly escape your past? Doctor Abby Fenton has a rewarding career, a loving family, an enviable lifestyle – and a secret that could destroy everything. When human remains are discovered in the grounds of an idyllic Tuscan holiday home she is forced to confront the memories she has suppressed until now and relive the summer she spent at the villa in 1992. A summer that ended in tragedy. The nearer she gets to the truth the closer she comes to losing her sanity. In order to hold onto the people she loves most, she must make sure they never discover what she did. But the reappearance of someone else from that summer threatens to blow her secret wide open…

Sounds intriguing. Where did the idea come from?

I wrote The Silence because it was the book I wanted to read. I love stories about houses which harbour dark secrets and I love Italy. The part of Tuscany where I have had a house for fifteen years struck me as the perfect setting for this sort of story. Our house is nothing like Villa Leonida – it’s much smaller and we haven’t discovered any skeletons there but one was found at a nearby house which gave me the idea.

I’m working on another novel about Villa Leonida, this time revealing a secret that goes back to the Second World War.

The Silence is available to pre-order now on this link:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071D6JTMS/ref=cm_sw_r_an_am_at_ws_gb?ie=UTF8.

Come along to my virtual book launch on June 8th and find out more. For details

Click here

https://www.facebook.com/events/206556209850202/?ref=6&ref_notif_type=plan_user_invited&action_history=null

I’ll be there!  Thanks for coming along today, Katy.  Very best wishes for your launch! 

Thank you Tim, I’ve enjoyed my visit to your blog. 

KJ pic.png

About the author: Katharine Johnson is a journalist with a passion for crime novels, old houses and all things Italian (except tiramisu). She grew up in Bristol and has lived in Italy. She currently lives in Berkshire with her husband, three children and madcap spaniel. She plays netball badly and is a National Trust room guide. 

Links

Website/blog https://katyjohnsonblog.wordpress.com.

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01NBDYV1G

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Katharinejohnsonauthor/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/kjohnsonwrites

Crooked Cat author page 

http://www.crookedcatbooks.com/author-book/katharine-johnson/