In the last post: Olive knew she'd broken her fiance's heart, but hadn't expected him to commit suicide...
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 26
At the sound of Olive’s screams, Bert cracked his eyes open and squinted at his surroundings. The rising sun shone beneath the lip of a thin cloud and crows screeched above his head.
For a moment, he couldn't figure out why he was sleeping on the scaffolding above his fiancé’s front door, but then the memory struck him like a clash of symbols. In a fit of blind jealousy, he’d planned to drop a noose over Dick Charmer's neck and hang him to death. But Olive had come home alone in the middle of the night, and while waiting for her lover to sneak in later, he’d fallen asleep.
The falling asleep part hadn’t been part of his plan, but then again nothing had gone to plan. Olive's screams certainly weren't part of it, and they'd come from right below him. He peeked between the scaffolding floorboards and his heart froze. Someone was hanging by the neck in his noose.
From the clothing, it looked frightfully like Lance, The Cloud Estate’s gardener. Only just yesterday he'd said he felt like committing suicide. Bert asked himself if the stupid sod had found the noose and taken the opportunity, or whether it had been an accident in the dark. Either way, it was Bert's fault and the shock made him gulp air like a dead fish. During the night, Lance had perished, making Bert an executioner.
“What in damnation is going on here?” The voice belonged to Chief Inspector Dobbs and Bert wondered if it were possible to creep away over the roof and down the other side unnoticed? But as he clambered to his feet, the scaffolding groaned and creaked under his weight.
“Who’s up there?”
A foul taste in Bert’s mouth made him swallow hard. He scrubbed his face with his hands, strove to appear as virtuous as an innocent baby angel, and leaned over the scaffolding’s railing. “Morning, Inspector," he stammered. "Anything wrong?"
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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