Meet another player in the Symington Byrd mysteries: Mordecai Gold, a man who “dances on the edge of the criminal world.”
Mordy (as he is known to his friends) runs a jewelers -come- pawnbrokers. He is a hard nosed businessman, with an eye for a bargain.
But I didn’t want him to be the stereotypical Jew of literature. When Walter Scott created Isaac of York he made him an extreme – the complete antithesis of his beautiful daughter Rebecca; while both George Du Maurier and Dickens created wholly evil criminal masterminds – who looked and acted in an immediately identifiable caricature.
There’s far more to Mordy than that. Tall, white haired – grandfatherly – this is a man who will admit to being 50 but not a day older. Having escaped the pogroms of Eastern Europe, Mordy made his home in Whitechapel. Using his connections Mordy has built up a reputation as an honest criminal. He is the soul of discretion who (trusted by the highest born and the lowliest of beggars) will ensure the best deal is achieved for all (though obviously the house will always win). But you cross him at your peril. Fail to keep your word and retribution is swift.
A man who always has sweets in his pockets, Mordy is at the centre of his community: respected, loved and feared in equal measure
When he first encounters Emily, the lonely little girl who spends at least ten minutes of her walk home from school staring into his shop window, Mordy sees an outsider – just like himself: a mystery inside an enigma. After her father’s death, when her mother brings trinkets to pawn to pay for the funeral, Mordy finds himself being wrapped around the finger of a 7 year old girl who has wisdom beyond her years and an innate ability to identify rough diamonds. Intrigued and sensing there is more to Emily and her mother than meets the eye, Mordy makes her mother an offer that will ensure that as Emily grows up she becomes the Pawnbroker’s apprentice.
I have made a decision, my gentleman detective needs a dressing gown.
Well, you’d have thought I’d have asked the Pope to change religion!
You see, if I wanted an Arthur Dent style dressing gown, I’d have been fine. Not only could I have sourced one for Symington at the start of the 20th century, but I could get one for OH from Ebay…
But a man’s dressing gown? Very limited stock indeed from which to choose.
See what I mean?
Now Symington is a man of taste, suaveness and sophistication. I can’t see him in any of the above.
Well possibly the last one but in black and gold…
see what London was like in 1927 – rare colour film, uncovered by the BFI
Uncovered recently by the BFI, this footage was taken in 1927. 18 years earlier the dresses were longer; and probably less cars. But this was the London, Lucy Pevensea and Mark Birch (two 21st kids) found themselves in. Different isn’t it? Find out more of a world of danger, intrigue and timetravelling teenagers…..
On the last day of the holiday, we went to Blenheim; this time to “do the indoors.” Why? Well because In 1949, Lucy (of The End of the Pier fame) finds herself there. I’m not telling what the reason for her visit was – that would be telling; and until we were back on the terrace, she hadn’t told me! Still I now know, and I am back to “writing like the wind.”
Anyway, back to the point…
Having recently revisited Lloyd George’s grave, we decided to go to the grave of Winston Churchill. I was curious, why after a state funeral he would choose to be buried not in Westminister Abbey but near his childhood home.
From his letters, I knew that he frequently commented that his happiest times were at Blenheim. He was born in the palace, spent many happy holidays there with his grandmother; proposed to Clementine in the temple near the rose garden; and felt a massive affinity with the first Duke – John Churchill – that other great war leader. He is buried in St Martin’s church, Bladon. Beautiful isn’t it.
I’m not sure what I expected; I certainly didn’t get it. Churchill’s grave is much simpler than his political friend Lloyd George. In fact I missed it because I was looking for something more ostentatious. Something more fitting the grandson of a Duke.
What I found was a family man; a man whose family are all around him – his wife Clementine; his children, grandchildren, cousins; .even his parents.
And it made me sad; sad beyond belief. Not for Churchill, who was so loved.
But for Lloyd George.
Yes it is peaceful – and like Churchill he is buried near his childhood home. But he has no family or friends around him; neither wife buried beside him. He is alone.