Bert felt jealous, cheated on, and blue. Then he discovered he could morph into a giant nightmarish slug...
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On Wednesdays and Sundays I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ novellas. You can check in regularly and read them bit for bit, or leave a message in my 'contact' page, and I'll send the entire digital story to you for free when published.
Life in the Clouds #6: Take a Slug ® James Field.
In the last post: Dick Charmer has a fantastic secret that makes his life worth living. Unless Bert finds out...
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 20
A knot swelled in Dick Charmer's belly. He just couldn't guess why Bert slept above Olive's front door, and somehow, it seemed sinister. One reason after the other ran through his mind, but nothing made sense.
He sighed and climbed back down the scaffolding ladder. Then his eyes popped open in disbelief. Was that a noose he could see, hanging head height in front of Olive's door?
It was difficult to see the crinkly wire in the shaded moonlight, but he was young and his eyesight was sharp. To make certain his peepers hadn’t deceived him, he reached out to touch it. There could be no mistake; it felt cold and thin and had a loose hangman’s knot twisted to form a loop.
A new thought came to Dick Charmer. In the weeks he’d worked at The Stables, he’d learnt that Olive and Bert planned to marry. From the way Olive had behaved at the disco, slobbering all over him like a frustrated spinster, it wouldn't surprise him if Bert were insanely jealous. But so jealous that he wanted to murder her? That took some believing.
The evening’s events replayed in his mind. Olive had tried to seduce him on the disco’s dance floor. If she’d been fifteen years younger, she might have tempted him; but the evening was about business, not pleasure. So he’d frolicked with her long enough to slip an impressive engagement ring from her finger and then moved on to the next chick.
Dick Charmer whistled softly as the puzzle cleared. Somehow, Olive had enchanted Bert and it was doubtful he wanted to harm her. More likely, Bert had expected them to saunter home arm-in-arm and planned to kill him.
Rather than fill him with shock or terror, Dick Charmer grinned. The big dummy had acted on blind animal instinct, which just went to prove he had more beef than brain.
Still, lynching somebody was a serious business and Bert needed a severe reprimand. One he wouldn't forget in a hurry. Oh, yes, he'd soon learn not to mess with a smart guy like him.
Careful not to wake Bert, Dick Charmer climbed up the ladder again and dangled Chief Inspector Dobbs identity card around Bert’s head; his skilful fingers were as deft planting loot as lifting it. Let him explain that when he wakes.
And because that was just one surprise he had in store for Bert, he had to clamp his hands over his mouth to stop himself from exploding in laughter.
To be continued…
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The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There’s a lot to like and a lot to dislike in this story. I like that it’s cosy, funny, and heart-warming. The plot, however, is a tragedy. There are two murders, and every character in the book, of which there are many, has a motif. With so many twists, turns, and red herrings throughout the narrative, it lost me in a virtual maze.
But the author commits the gravest crime: he introduces a new, guilty character right at the end of the story. Tut, tut, naughty.
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