Author Archives: judithhb

A David Bishop Weekend

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again,
there is no use in reading it at all.” 

― Oscar Wilde

A winter weekend with nothing planned.  The family was all away and my son and his family had the dreaded lurgy, so what to do but settle down and read.

I decided to reread some of David Bishop’s books, in particular, the Linda Darby series.  I was introduced to this author last year when recuperating after my Adventure, and since then have read several of his books.  Isn’t it great how when you reread a book even one year later, you decide you like it even more than the first time round?

I won’t review these three books here but will do so on my other site in the next few days.  But as a taster – 

In the first book The Woman, we meet Linda Darby, a 30 something single woman.  She has been married to and divorced from a scoundrel about whom we know very little. She subsequently meets and marries her second husband who, unfortunately, is killed while on a secret operation somewhere.  

In an attempt to get over this loss, she settles in a small seaside town on the Oregan coast and here her adventures begin.  She is a day trader and this allows her to work from anywhere.  She keeps to herself and her only real friend in this town is an elderly widowed woman who runs a consulting business, which we later find out, has no visitors, is not listed in the phone book and sends and receives missives only by courier.  

Linda’s quiet uneventful life is disrupted when one night out walking she is attacked by two men but is saved by the intervention of a third man.  This third man disappears and the next day the newspaper reports the murders of the two men.   And then the day after that she learns that her close friend has been tortured and killed, leaving a letter for Linda that will change her life and her whole being, making her think and act in a completely different way.

And through it all,  she is helped, rescued and protected by the mystery man, Ryan Testler.

This is a fast moving and intriguing book, that makes one (or at least me) want to read more of this woman and her adventures.

The next book in the series is Hometown Secrets and it is followed by The First Lady’s Second Man.

I hope I have encouraged you to read some of Bishop’s stories.  There are two other series I have read – The Matt Kile Mysteries and Jack McCall Mysteries.  But I shall leave them to reread on another weekend with nothing planned and nobody home.

PS, Of course, all of these books are available from Amazon.  They are one-sitting reads and so good for a lazy weekend.

And I found this on Pinterest.  Thought Baldacci was spot on.

 

Thanks to pinterest.

PPS  We’ll get back to The Murderer and The Detective just as soon as I have worked out where to from there.

Murderer vs Detective

He turned around but the man had gone.  “Why” he asked himself “would he say that and why would he follow me to Cape town?  What did the detective know?””

The driver was impatient wanting to get him to his hotel.  He was in Cape town for only two days after which time he would leave to join the safari.  But his day had been spoilt by the confrontation at the airport.

He arrived at the hotel and once he had checked in, he had his bags taken to his room and then made his way to the bar where he found a comfortable chair in a corner and ordered a large brandy.  Minutes later the waiter returned and without spilling a drop, skilfully put down a drink mat, centred the drink on it and left, only to return almost immediately with a small dish of nuts and a napkin.

The excitement of his trip was now sullied and he felt quite depressed.  What could have made that detective suspicious and was he in Cape town officially or was he just following up on his own?

He had been so very careful.  Looking back to that Sunday afternoon he was sure he had made no mistakes.  He had planned for them to meet those particular friends for a drink after their walk as he knew his wife would leave before him as she was not interested in their chat about trips around the world the other couple had taken.

Earlier in the day, he had stashed a single use raincoat in the cupboard under the stairs so that in the event of blood splatter it wouldn’t be on him  But he had read somewhere that if you stood behind somebody when you slashed their throat the blood splatter would be in front of them.  So the plastic raincoat was just a precaution and he had hung it on the hall stand along with other outdoor coats and hats before the police arrived.

Blood splatter was one of the first things investigators looked at in a bloody murder.  But it was also conceivable that there would be blood on his clothes if he had come in and found his wife’s blood everywhere.

So when the police arrived and took his blood stained clothing for inspection and analysis they found only what was to be expected if he had come home and found her dying.

He wasn’t worried about his fingerprints on the knife as his prints would naturally be on any knife in the block.

The front door being unlocked was accepted as normal as he was coming home after his wife.  The fact that nothing was missing was of concern to the police initially but they apparently came to the conclusion that his arriving home had interrupted the thief who fled through the kitchen door.

After a short time, he had returned to his normal life, doing nothing to attract attention to himself.  So why was the detective convinced that he had killed his wife?

Meantime in another hotel in Cape town, Detective Tom Cranston thought about Eric Duncan and the murder of his wife.  There were so many anomalies – why hadn’t the husband been more upset when he found his wife dying?  He had seemed very controlled for a man in that situation.  He did have blood on his hands and clothes that he said was from holding his wife before he called the police, but is this how the blood had got onto him?  And the knife that was later found in a hedge in the garden next door.  It could very easily have been disposed of before the Police arrived.

He had two days in Cape town has decided to use part of his annual leave to follow Duncan and see if there was anything that would prove he was the murderer.  He didn’t expect to come across anything here, but he would let Duncan see him and so upset him, wondering just how much the detective knew.

Related posts:  Faraway Places;
It Begins
The Fickle Finger of Fate

The Fickle Finger of Fate

On the morning he was due to leave he arose at the usual time.  He ate breakfast, showered and shaved and was ready when the taxi came at noon.

The airport was about an hour away and he had decided to take a taxi rather than use the train (the local station was very close) while being encumbered with luggage.

He was very excited.  At last, the long-awaited trip was beginning.  Arriving at the airport in plenty of time he took a seat in the lounge and opened the new novel he had bought the day before.  He smiled as he considered the book’s title “The Perfect Murder”.  “Well,” he thought.  “I committed the perfect murder.  Obviously, nobody really thinks I was involved or I wouldn’t be on my way to Africa.”

Soon his flight was called and as he entered the plane he saw a familiar face.  He couldn’t put a name to the face but he was sure it was somebody he knew.  Well, he would have time to think about it in the 12 hours’ flight to Cape town.

The steward showed him to his Business Class seat and after taking his jacket and putting his carry-on bag in the overhead locker, he offered a glass of champagne while they waited for the other passengers to board.  He gave no more thought to the man he had seen at the airport and settled down to enjoy the flight.  “This,” he thought “is certainly the way to travel.”  The steward was very attentive and once dinner was over, he made up the lie-flat bed for him.

Having woken and enjoyed a good breakfast he got ready to leave the plane and really start on this adventure.

Waiting in line for immigration he saw the man again.  He was sure that the fellow was looking at him.  Maybe he couldn’t remember where they had met before either and was also trying to place him.  And again, waiting at the carousel for his suitcase he saw the man looking straight at him.

Then after clearing customs, he walked towards the driver displaying his name on a placard and he suddenly remembered where he had seen the man before.  He was one of the first detectives on the scene investigating his wife’s murder.  As he reached his driver, the detective came up close and said “I want you to know that I know you did it and I’ll figure out a way to prove it eventually.  So just keep looking over your shoulder.  I will be right behind you.”

Related posts – Faraway Places.  It Begins

It Begins

He planned his next move in the same meticulous way he had always done.

Several years ago they had taken out insurance naming each other as the beneficiary.  The insurance company had paid his claim after a few months while they waited for the police to declare that he wasn’t a suspect in the murder.  The lump sum they paid was still sitting in his bank account. He thought his decision not to draw on the money to buy a fancy car or another luxury item so as not to draw any attention to himself was the right one.

Apart from the two weeks following his wife’s death, he had taken no time off from the office and so had plenty of holidays owing to him. He decided he would take some time and go on his first trip.  If travel really suited him and he found the faraway places to his liking, he would then resign his job and travel.  He had the insurance money and a fairly large savings account that they had set up for their retirement, so money was not going to be a problem.

Because his wife had had no desire to travel outside the country, he was not an experienced traveller.  So one day on his lunch hour, he visited a travel agent to get some help.  It was decided that a photo safari in Africa would be the way to start his world travels.  Here he would see those large animals that ranged the wide open spaces that he’d always longed to see.  After a few days considering which tour to take he made his choice.

He had played with photography in the past, mostly taking photos of his garden and on the rare occasions, they left home, taking photos of the places they visited.  He was in luck – the local photo club was meeting each week and new members were welcome.  He knew that he could learn much from them in the few weeks before he set off.

But he also knew that the others on the tour would have high-end cameras and so his next move was to a camera shop where he paid (in his mind at least) an inordinate amount for a camera.  He was assured by the helpful assistant that it was “user-friendly” and if he had any problems she “would be very happy to help him.”  This with a somewhat flirtatious smile.

Next stop, new luggage, suitcase and backpack.  Then off to a menswear shop in whose windows he had often peered but into which he had never ventured.  But he left with all the clothes he would need for the safari.

He would need a passport.  This was easily arranged and he paid extra for it to be available urgently and for it to be delivered by courier.

There were no children from the marriage and no close family and so he told his friends and work colleagues that he was going away for a while to be on his own and get over the loss of his wife.  He had an alarm system installed in the house, gave a spare set of keys to his neighbour and eventually, he was ready to set off.

All that remained was the short wait for tickets and vouchers for the tour and for the passport to arrive.

He spent the few days before he left imagining the wild animals he would see, roaming around and living in their own habitat, rather than in a zoo.

To be continued….

Related posts       Faraway Places

Faraway Places

It was 14 months since his wife died. Nobody had been convicted nor had the Police even arrested and charged anyone for the murder.

Initially, of course, he had been considered as the prime suspect.  Close relatives are always checked before anyone else, strangers or friends.  But he had an alibi.  He and his wife had been having a glass of wine with friends that Sunday afternoon.  And as usual, his wife left shortly before him leaving him to finish his wine and conversation with their friends.

The story was that when he got home he found his wife with her neck slashed.  Blood was everywhere but there was no sign of the murder weapon although there was one knife missing from the knife block on the kitchen bench.  The backdoor was unlocked but that was because he was expected home.

There were no clues as to what had happened in the kitchen nor why she had been killed.  Nothing had been taken and the house was in its usual state.

She was a simple person, happy with her lot in life, staying at home looking after the house as any good woman would, at least in her estimation.  Her days were spent in housework, shopping, helping at the library and lunch and coffee with friends in the village.

So with nothing to work on, after a few months the Police moved on to other cases and his life went back almost to normal.

He returned to work as solicitors’ clerk on Monday to Friday; Saturdays were spent in chores around the house and garden and Sundays found him following their practice of a walk followed by a coffee or more often, a glass of wine with friends.  And often on Sunday, he would end up having dinner with one or other of their friends.

So life was almost perfect.  He really didn’t miss his wife and her incessant chatter about friends and family and gossip about the village people.

Now he decided that enough time had passed and so one Sunday, arriving home to an empty house after dinner, he took out his maps and brochures and began to plan his trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petrichor

Another new word for me today.  You may know that I am a pluviophile – a lover of rain.

Pluviophile

I have written about walking in the rain several times in the past.  More particularly last year when the only independent way of getting around was to walk.

And today I found another new word Petrichor – the smell of the earth after the rain.

Wikipedia tells us “Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrkɔər/) is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek πέτρα petra, meaning “stone”, and ἰχώρ īchōr, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.”

 

I am sure you all know that smell.  It’s almost as if the earth is saying, OK time to wake up and start reproducing the flowers, trees, vegetables etc.  I love that smell and am so glad that I found the word.  But I do wonder when I shall use either or both of these words and in what context.

We haven’t had any rain for several days so I am sure I shall smell petrichor again soon and  I am sure that some of my friends in the Northern Hemisphere would welcome a little rain at present.

And now, as I don’t have anything else to share today, I shall go out for coffee with my daughter and then return to read more of your posts this afternoon.

But first, I shall drink this cup of tea.

IMG_1793

No matter how dark the night
we know that whatever happens,
the sun will rise tomorrow

and then all the shadows
will be chased away.”
Judith Baxter 1938 –

 

Sunrise

Michael Bond … the bear necessities

RIP Michael Bond. 13 January 1926-27 June 2017.
Thanks for the many hours spent with Paddington Bear.

Routine Matters

Michael Bond … the bear necessities

2560-1 Illustration by Alan Vest

Michael Bond, (born 13 January 1926) is an English author, best known for his Paddington Bear series of books. Bond began writing in 1945 whilst stationed with the army in Cairo and sold his first short story to the magazine London Opinion. He was paid seven guineas, and thought he “wouldn’t mind being a writer”. In 1958, after producing a number of plays and short stories and while working as a BBC television cameraman (where he worked on Blue Peter for a time), his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published. This was the start of Bond’s series of books recounting tales of a bear from “Darkest Peru”, whose Aunt Lucy sends him to the United Kingdom, carrying a jar of marmalade; the Brown family found the bear at Paddington Station, and adopted him, naming the bear after the railway station. By 1967, Bond was able to give up his BBC job to…

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More New Words

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” 
― Rudyard Kipling

I have always been mesmerised/entranced/spellbound by words and in this, I am joined by both my sisters.  I suspect this is because our father was similarly mesmerised/entranced/spellbound.

Words

Last week I came across the word multifarious and while I was sure I could guess at its meaning I looked it up.  It means having many varied parts or aspects.  And then a couple of days later, one of my sisters of choice, Chris at Bridges Burning posed a question that asked for one word to describe yourself.   Chris chose Flotsam as her word,  and Celi at the kitchen gardens chose eclectic, and I chose multifarious because I think it absolutely describes me. What word would you choose?

And then, my ever resourceful sister in Los Angeles came up with

I’m now trying to find a sentence in which to use this lovely word.  That is of course if I can work out how to pronounce it.

Note:   According to Stephen King

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus
is the wrong word.
There are no exceptions to this rule.”

And who am I to argue with the master?

And turning to the Oxford English I find that logophile is the noun to describe a lover of words.

 

 

 

CANADA DAY

Oh it’s July 2 here already. But happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends.

THE COASTAL CRONE

HAPPY CANADA DAY TO MY CANADIAN FRIENDS!
CONGRATULATIONS ON 150 YEARS!

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Who Shot Kukki Gallman?

I dreamed of africa

I have just finished re-reading (for probably the 6th or 7th time) one of my all-time favourite books, “I Dreamed of Africa” by Kukki Gallman and posted a review on my other site Books and More Books.

Having finished the review and posted it, I decided to see what the world was saying about Kukki Gallman now.  And horrors – I read in the Guardian UK, that she was shot on a Sunday morning in April,

We are told that on that Sunday morning, April 23,  she was keen to inspect the ruins of Mukutan Retreat, her luxury tourist lodge, which had been set ablaze the day before. She drove there, accompanied by armed Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers and one of her scouts, to find total devastation. As she said, “Ash hung in the air like snowflakes.”

Many years of living with the threat of encroachment, poachers and occasional violence had taught her caution, so the visit was brief and, as she always did, Gallmann left by a different dirt track to the one she had driven in on.

Reaching the higher plains she found a felled tree blocking the route. The Rangers had finished moving the trunk when her scout called out to her, telling her there were three people approaching, but before she could turn to look the shooting started and she was hit in the lower abdomen as she sat in her Land Cruiser. She was hit again and three more shots hit the car before the Rangers chased away the ambushers.

Following the shooting, she spent a fortnight in hospital before being discharged to convalesce in her house in Nairobi. But she says she is not yet truly home.

She longs for Ol Ari Nyiro, “The Place of Dark Springs”, an 88,000-acre nature reserve in Kenya’s central highlands overlooking the Great Rift Valley, where her husband and son are buried.  In recent months this quiet, peaceful reserve has become embroiled in a violent struggle between the private landowners and the semi-nomadic herders. But though her wounds from the shooting are grievous she is determined to go back and fight.

“As soon as I’m allowed I will go back,” she says. Her doctors tell her that she is not yet strong enough and security officers advise her it is not yet safe, but “in my heart, I’m there,” she says.”

This is a different photo.
Not one of a trophy hunter having killed a defenceless animal but
one of a distraught Kukki with a killed elephant.

Kukki

Sad story: Gallmann with an elephant killed by poachers on her land. Photograph: AFP

In earlier times, I followed Kukki and her daughter in their conservation quest and now feel sorrow for this woman who has faced sorrow in the loss of her husband and son and now could lose her beloved home or even her life.

Get well soon Kukki and go back to your home in the hopes that peace will return once again.

And always, Zig has a quote –

“It’s not how far you fall,
but how high you bounce that counts.”
― Zig Ziglar Author, salesman and
Motivational speaker 1926-2012