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World Book Day – a teaser from Cowardice of Crows

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Later this year, the first Byrd novel hits the shelves. The following is a short extract from chapter 2… Enjoy

Friday 2nd November, 1900

12pm

A shy unassuming man,  who was wearing a clerk’s suit complete with a bowler hat, caught the noon train to Brighton. Aged about 40, he positioned himself in the corner seat of a second class carriage, and stared out of the window at the passing scenery. Every so often, he would look at his well-worn half hunter, and note something down in the pages of a little black notebook; but otherwise he was no trouble to the people who travelled with him from London. When the train entered the tunnel the man tensed, and a motherly lady with big hips and loud breathing, patted him gently on the arm, and made soothing noises. He thanked her, in a whisper, and continued to sit upright until the tunnel section of the journey was complete. Then with a sigh, he leaned back against the seat and closed his eyes (to all intents and purposes) worn out after his nervous display. And thus he stayed, until ten minutes before the locomotive was due to pull in to Brighton, when the carriage was disturbed by the conductor.

“Mr. Sampson?” The shy man jumped, dislodging the bowler from his lap and sending it to the floor.

“Yes?”

“The earl requests you attend him in First, sir.”

“Yes… Yes… Thank you.” The man rescued his hat from the motherly lady (who had swooped eagle like to pick it up) and stood up. Making his apologies, he made his way out of the carriage and down the corridor.

~~~

At the station, the motherly woman looked out for the shy man amongst Earl Byrd’s very noticeable entourage. But while she could see a burly porter pushing a trolley laden with cases; a ramrod backed valet (who had clearly seen military service); and an efficient looking secretary with grey hair and a hatchet nose; there was no sign of the shy man. Instead of looking perturbed by his absence, the motherly woman grinned and hobbled her way to the ladies cloakroom, where an attendant later found a pair of boots stuffed with newspaper.

Up and Coming

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All being well and good Secrets and Lies will be at the Hockley and Hawkwell Methodist Hall on February 13th with copies of the Aldwych Strand Trilogy as well as the compendium version.

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Time Travellers and Normals

Mark – A football mad teenager who should know better by now

Lucy – The class geek whose madcap idea to photograph Southend Pier got them into all this trouble

Molly Pearce – Manager of the Edinburgh Castle Mission (a woman of hidden depths)

Will Driver – Lloyd George’s Driver

DCI Arthur Sutton – a policeman working for Melville

Lysander and Cornelius Armstrong – twin brothers who look nothing alike

Captain Michaels – an officer who hates Italians

Historicals

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David Lloyd George – Chancellor of the Exchequer, Welshman and playboy

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Guillermo Marconi – Inventor of the Wireless. An Essex boy from Italy.

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Winston S. Churchill – Home Secretary

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Walter Nicolai – An old fashioned spymaster who is playing a deep game

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William Melville – Allegedly the head of the Secret Service

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Frances Stephenson – A girl who catches Lloyd George’s eye

Thank you

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To all my new followers – much appreciated guys 🙂

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‘The Kidnapped Prime Minister’ (1923)

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Sharing this because Lloyd George gets everywhere 🙂

Re-Reading Agatha Christie

First published in The Sketch, on the 25 April 1923 (Issue 1578) and later collected in Poirot Investigates (1924). The story’s setting in the Poirot chronology is considerably earlier than most of the other stories in the Sketch series, apparently taking place shortly after the Styles case. Poirot has just taken up permanent residence in London and is not yet the famous, fashionable detective that he will soon become; Hastings, meanwhile, is still working for the army in an administrative capacity. In fact, the war is still very much ongoing and patriotism is the keynote of the tale – a keynote that is struck by Poirot himself. When visited by two government officials who hope to enlist Poirot’s help in finding the missing Prime Minister, the immigrant detective understandably enquires: ‘What made you come to me? I am unknown, obscure in this great London of yours.’ He has apparently…

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