Here is another extract from my next Radwinter novel, Saltpans… this the first draft so no doubt there re a few errors in it!
In this extract, Thomas Radwinter is investigating a mysterious event which happened in one of a row of early twentieth century houses. He also knows that one of the houses is empty, the heirs to an old lady, Hilary, who had lived there, wrangling over her will. Sadly the old lady was murdered in her own home, but that’s not what Thomas is investigating. He knocks on the door of the house belonging to two elderly gentlemen:
After an interminable age, during which I could hear a faint voice crying please be so kind as to wait, I am on my way! the door opened and an old man with a stick in either hand stood there. He looked up at me through a pair of glasses with massive lenses and tortoiseshell frames (he had another pair perched on his head, nestled in a cloud of white hair).
I was about to introduce myself when he greeted me in a familiar way.
“Good afternoon young man, I do believe I know you! I have seen you at the golf club in the company of Laurie Shelverswell, funny old stick that he is!”
Well this old gentleman was a funny old stick himself! The upshot was I was invited in for a cup of tea as the old gent, Peter, and ‘dear Derrick’ loved having visitors and their nephews were away at the moment.
I said I couldn’t stay very long as I followed him down the hall and into the back where there was a kitchen which must have arrived in Strand on board of the Ark! Seated at a table knitting was another old gent, Derrick, who turned out to be very deaf, so everything had to be repeated and shouted. I told them I couldn’t stay long but they said it was fine, they had a TV programme they wanted to watch.
To cut a really long story short – I had their life stories and it turns out their nephews are great nephews and really are related to them, it was patently obvious they knew nothing about Shelly – apart from what they had read in the newspaper and two years ago when she had been found Peter had been recovering from a knee operation and they had spent most of that year with their niece, the nephews mother. During that time they’d had their bathrooms ‘reinvigorated’ as Derrick described it, a downstairs wet room, stair lifts and other conveniences for their dotage.
I asked them about the old lady next door…
“Laurie told us what a marvel you are and how you solved his little mystery… and we understand that you suffered rather unpleasant consequences as a result of your investigation,” Peter patted my hand. “Fortunately you are all in on peace, as we see… so are you investigating the circumstances surrounding poor Hilary?
Hilary it seems was the old lady who had been murdered. Derrick and Peter had been staying with their niece when it happened but they said even before that they hadn’t seen the old girl for a while… Had she become a bit of a recluse? I asked. Well, apparently, although knowing her it seemed strange.
Hilary had been a keen member of U3A which is a great organisation for people who no longer work – classes, course, groups, outings, trips… I know all about it because the Metcalf Road gang are very involved. But she had had a bit of a fall, nothing too bad, just annoying, and she’d organised herself a carer while she couldn’t get around.
“This would have been… let me think… 2014, 2015? I can’t recall, can you Peter, love?” Derrick asked.
They were clearly still upset at the memory of it, and felt guilty that things had happened as they had… but being on the other side of the country for almost a year there was nothing they could have done. They didn’t even manage to get to Hilary’s funeral because they were in Sardinia…
It was nearly time for their TV programme, so I thanked them very much, left them my card because they wanted to talk about living wills, and tootled off.
Here is a link to the Radwinter series – I hope you enjoy them and please let me know what you think! I would really appreciate some comments and reviews on my Amazon page!!