In the last post: Bert was dumbfounded by events. It ended with him handcuffed to the scaffolding...
Dear friends, if you like a good chuckle, dim-witted heroes, and larger-than-life villains, then you'll love this fascinating series. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ stories. You can check in regularly and read them for free, or wait to buy the entire story when published.
Enchanter on the Roof ® James Field. Part 30
Earlier that morning, Just as Chief Inspector Dobbs had climbed out of bed and padded his way to the bathroom, he’d caught a woman's scream. It wasn’t an ordinary cry, like when somebody stubs their toe or slams their finger in a car door. This was a blood-curdling howl as if the person had opened their front door and found a dead body hanging there.
Like the top-notch, semi-retired, professional law enforcer that he was, Chief Inspector Dobbs changed direction and rushed to his own front door.
"That sounds like Olive," his wife said, abruptly by his side and clutching his arm. As always, her voice sounded soft and husky.
Chief Inspector Dobbs unhooked her hand and tried not to show his annoyance. He'd spent most of his life as a bachelor. Marriage was a new experience and he wasn't certain he liked it—yet. Sure, Florence was a fine woman, plump and ripe, but he hated it when she involved herself in his police work. "Stay here," he ordered.
She drew a thin overcoat over her flowery nightdress, tied a mauve and green scarf across her tangled hair, and tagged along behind him. He didn't have time to bark at her, and anyway, she only ever laughed at his outbursts.
Outside, other people already ran towards Olive's house. As they drew close, Chief Inspector Dobbs sighted a body hanging by its neck in front of Olive's door, and Olive lying at the victim's feet. He gave himself a mental pat on the back for recognizing the scream's significance: a result of diligent experience.
"Stay behind me," said Chief Inspector Dobbs, not wanting his wife to faint or spew. "This looks like a nasty business." Instead, Florence forged ahead, dodged around the dead body, and helped the stricken Olive to her feet. She guided Olive into the house, cooing words of comfort, and slammed the door behind her.
Chief Inspector Dobbs normally radiated confidence and authority at the site of a crime. Standing there in his dressing gown and slippers was a new event, and his nakedness made it difficult to take charge. It didn't help his mood that Florence had pooh-hooed him.
Suddenly, he let out an enormous breath and muttered a soft curse. Luckily, this wasn’t a proper murder scene at all , but somebody’s idea of a sick joke. The dead body hanging from a noose right outside Olive’s door was nothing more than a scarecrow.
To be continued…
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A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To save the jobs of those in the Japanese government who helped him escape, Masaji Ishikawa wrote: “…obviously I wasn’t going to start talking to the press.” Instead, he wrote this mammoth best-selling book? Sorry, but I don’t believe this man’s autobiography can be true. If it is, then he is likely responsible for the sacking of those government officials who helped his return to Japan, and worse, expose his family to torture or execution in North Korea.
It may well be that he moved to North Korea in 1960, aged thirteen, where he lived until his escape in 1996. However, I rather believe his memoir is an over dramatised collection of exaggerated incidents he picked up from others. In which case, good for him.
I hope this is the case; otherwise, he puts himself in a poor light. From his book, he already comes across as egoistic, beating up anyone who upsets him and often leaving his family to starve while he runs off to find work to feed himself.
North Korea is undoubtedly not an agreeable place to live, but propaganda and false news flourish. The story in this book is captivating and mind-bogglingly tragic, hence four stars. I just don’t accept Mr Ishikawa’s life was as awful, or maybe I don’t want to believe, as he relates.
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