Sunday, 31 March 2013

A Facebook fan page for 'The Borough Boys'

Hey Guys;

After all the recent hype, I thought I'd better follow requests, and create a fan page on Facebook, especially for my 'Borough Boys' Series,

So here it is...

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Borough-Boys/368938166555376


Please take a look, and the more 'LIKES' the better!


Thanks


Phil

A humble request - and update!

Hey Guys;

Good morning to you all from a sunny Leicester!

I have just checked the current situation regarding my first novel, 'Jack Ketch's Puppets', which as of five minutes ago, was still sat at number 90 in today's Kindle 'Mysteries' category.

My book is still on offer as a 'free giveaway' on Amazon KDP select, until after Easter Monday. it is also available as a free 'borrow' for Amazon 'Prime' members.

Please could I be very cheeky, and ask you to share this information with all your friends? 

Thank you all, so much!

Phil

Saturday, 30 March 2013

What a day. Thanks to all my readers!

At one point this afternoon, I got a message, all the way from Greece, announcing that my book was sitting at #72 in the Amazon 'Mystery' category, 1 place above James Herbert's 'Lair' and one below one of Lee Childs' novels.

Wow, I thought, listed with the best!

I went to look for myself and was shocked to find my book at #70, jointly, with Stieg Larrson, with 'The girl with the Dragon tattoo'.

I know it is the Amazon Kindle algorithms working, but boy, what a buzz!

The I got a review through from USA for 'Leicestershire Myth & Legend - in verse', which kindly referred to me as a 'Bard' and disappointment that I had not included more tales...

Days don't get much better than this!

Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!! (I know I shouldn't but I did!!!!!!!)

Easter Monday giveaway - Leicestershire Myth & Legend - in verse

Hey guys;

Following my confident foray into KDP Select, I have decided to enrol my non-fiction work

'Leicestershire Myth & Legend - in verse'

This will be available on Monday 1st April, Easter Monday, as a free giveaway.

Click here for sales page

Thank you to my new readers - a progress report

Hey Guys;

I would like to say a big thank you to those of you that have bought my book 'Jack Ketch's Puppets' so far this weekend.

As of five minutes ago, it was shown as #1,197 in the overall Kindle store, and more importantly, #74 in the category of 'Mysteries'.

For those of you who have not yet purchased it, it is available for no charge, up to and including Easter Monday, through Amazon KDP, or to borrow through their library service (prime members).

The link to the sales page can be found below;-

CLICK HERE

Friday, 29 March 2013

Visit Leicester Guildhall and meet The Borough Boys

Hey guys;

For those of you who are in Leicester, or who may be visiting Leicester in the foreseeable future, may I make a recommendation to you.

My first novel, 'Jack Ketch's Puppets' which is on sale now, has a lot of its storyline centred on Leicester Guildhall, as it is now, and as then was 'Leicester Town Hall and Police Station'.

I went back myself a couple of weeks ago, and every room I went into, and outside in the courtyard, my characters flooded to me.

This is a beautiful old building, and full of character. Once you have read 'Jack Ketch's Puppets', pop in, and imagine the site as I have described it in 1850, and feel my characters - I am sure you will bump in to one or two!

'Jack Ketch's Puppets' out now. Free this weekend on Amazon KDP (Friday 29th March to Monday 1st April 2013 inclusive.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Ketchs-Puppets-Borough-ebook/dp/B00C0ZQTUS/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364317134&sr=1-2

Visit Leicester Guildhall and watch my characters come to life

Hey guys;

For those of you who are in Leicester, or who may be visiting Leicester in the foreseeable future, may I make a recommendation to you.

My first novel, 'Jack Ketch's Puppets' which is on sale now, has a lot of its storyline centred on Leicester Guildhall, as it is now, and as then was 'Leicester Town Hall and Police Station'.

I went back myself a couple of weeks ago, and every room I went into, and oustide in the courtyard, my characters flooded to me.

This is a beautiful old building, and full of character. Once you have read 'Jack Ketch's Puppets', pop in, and imagine the site as I have described it in 1850, and feel my characters - I am sure you will bump in to one or two!

'Jack Ketch's Puppets' out now. Free this weekend on Amazon KDP (Friday 29th March to Monday 1st April 2013 inclusive.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Ketchs-Puppets-Borough-ebook/dp/B00C0ZQTUS/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364317134&sr=1-2

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Jack Ketch's Puppets - Easter Giveaway on KDP

Hey Guys;

After all the hype from me about my first novel, I am running a promotion over the Easter Weekend, whereby you can buy my book, as an ebook, from Amazon KDP...FOR FREE!

This will run from Good Friday to Easter Monday, inclusive.

All I would ask in return is, if you choose to buy it as a giveaway, you offer an honest review in return, once you have read it.

Thanks

Phil

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

My Author site on GOODREADS

Hey Guys;

For your information, I now have my own author site on Goodreads

The site can be found HERE

Monday, 25 March 2013

First review 'Jack Ketch's Puppets'...



Review of Jack Ketch’s Puppets

A blend of fictional story telling interwoven with historical insight makes for an enthralling and interesting read.  This novel of crime and detection brings to life a Victorian Leicester, with each page exposing the reader to an increasing understanding of the environment of the time.  The storyline reveals both goodness and depravity of the human condition, with twists and surprises right through to the end.  I look forward to reading more stories about the ‘good guy’ characters from this (first time) author.

JMA Beardmore

The wait is over...'Jack Ketch's Puppets' OUT NOW!

Hey guys;

After what has seemed like an eternity, and a particular long week of edit, after edit, after edit, and several final proof readings...

'Jack Ketch's Puppets', the first in my 'Borough Boys' series of novels based on Victorian 

Crime fighters in Leicester, England, in 1850, is out from today.


Initially available through Createspace e-store - see link <CLICK HERE>


Shortly as a Paperback through Amazon.com; Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.Eur.

Also to follow through FeedARead for UK distribution purposes, shortly.

Also as an ebook through Mindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select programme, to buy or lend...

I hope you enjoy, should you wish to buy or borrow!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Enough of this English Winter and Snow!

I am feeling energised!

I have had enough of the snow, and an English winter that seems to have been with us for at least five months if not six.

My first self publication 'Leicestershire Myth & Legend - in verse' is now available through 'Createspace' and their outlets; Amazon.Com; Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.Eur, and as an ebook through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Shortly those outlets will be supplemented by FeedARead and their outlets also.

My first novel 'Jack Ketch's Puppets' is now about one week from becoming available, through the same outlets.

So, why am I feeling energised?

At long last I can stop worrying about getting the first two books out and into the Market Place, and I can start to write again!

To get me out of the English Winter, my first venture is a Novella, the first in the 'Tony Lawrence' series, and will be set in the heat and aromatic, heady atmosphere of Santorini, Greece.

I can feel the warmth on my back already, and possibly the need for a little research trip!

Well done Createspace / Amazon KDP!

I was a little concerned, when using the 'Createspace' self-publishing process, that they recommended not just relying on proof reading of my first two books 'on-screen' or as PDF files, but to buy a hardcopy proof.

'Hello' I thought, just another way to make a few quid, in the publishing grinder! Also, a further delay in getting the book out there?

But no. I stand corrected.

When my beautiful new novel arrived, I was elated.

It was only when I started to turn the pages, that I realised that there was still much work still to do.

Why it did not look such an issue 'on screen'? I do not know. Perhaps it's my mild form of dyslexia, and I see things differently?

Whatever...the outcome has been for a major edit. Lots of silly punctuation fixes, and a major decision to 'prune' radically. I could see that there was still too much 'tell' and it needed cutting back, and it was not so evident electronically.

I have now just submitted a comprehensively edited version back for Createspace approval, and I am much happier with what will go on sale, as my 'First Edition'.

Well done Createspace and Amazon. A sensible step in the proofing process, and I would recommend it to anyone who thinks their 'on screen' proofing is sound!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Happy Snowy Friday!

Hey guys;

Feel a bit more like my old self today.

Finally got my 'Leicestershire Myth & Legend - in verse' back out.

Now available through Amazon.com; Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.Eur as a paperback, and through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) as an e-book.

See my website at www.1455bookcompany.com to view links to sales pages.

I hope that is the end of problems with that little project!

Snowing like crazy outside at the moment. half of England is flooded again, half is frozen or getting the latest installment of snowfall.

It's supposed to be Spring, season of growth and happiness...Bring it on soon please!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Writers' Blues

Hey guys;

Had a bad day yesterday. Actually it started the day before!

Why is it that just when you think everything is finally coming together, something leaps out and smacks you in the face?

I was alarmed to find that what I had taken for granted with some images, based on what had been fairly extensive research, had suddenly been exposed as subject of Copyright.

Everything had to be stopped. Everything had to be taken down, and a complete re-submission process started.

I guess the moral of the story is, 'there is no such thing as free', or conversely ' use your own stuff rather than relying on the internet!'.

I have now made my first little dalliance into self-publishing, a truly, self resourced book, and spent the day doing my own pen sketches and watercolour sketches, which was actually fun.

I will never, ever, use what other sites confirm is 'free of copyright' or for that matter, clipart from MS again, as it isn't as I'm sure many think - copyright free.

Anyway, its a good chance to get out my paint, brushes and pens and start my old hobby back up!

Also, what should have been a 'High', with the arrival of my hardcopy proof of 'Jack Ketch's Puppets' was turned into a bit of an anti-climax.

It also looks so different on paper, and I realise that I am a novice writer still!

I am desperately shaking off the blues and will endeavour to ensure that the second in the series is a little more 'show', and a little less 'tell, as I suspect I have an imbalance in book1.

We live and learn!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

An apology - for, I hope, the right reason...

Hey guys;

I have taken the decision to halt the current process, and  delay publication of 'Leicestershire Myth & Legend - in verse', for the time being.

I have identified a potential issue with an image, and am not prepared to take the risk of any copyright breach. 

So, I am reformatting part of the book.

I hope to have the matter resolved in a soon a time as possible.

Apologies for any of you who were that anxious to get your hands on a copy.


Thanks

Phil


Feeling a little jaded today!

Hey Guys;

What a mad weekend. One of those weekends you don't want to go through too often, as a writer, that is!

I finally got the notifications I was hoping for. My new paper proof version of 'Leicestershire Myth & Legend - in verse' arrived, and apart from a minor tweak, it looked stunning.

So, time to get it out as an ebook.

Those nice folk at Createspace provided the wizard to allow for a simplification and streamlining of the process, but then the fun started.

Amazon / Kindle Direct Publishing, for whatever reason, didn't like my files!

The conversion of the Createspace template - threw out all the line breaks in key areas.

So, a new PDF - sucked!

HTML? - sucked!

What about a good old fashioned Word.doc? - GOT IT!

I eventually had a file that looked as it should on a Kindle.

That was a short book, so I am in anxious anticipation of how it converts my novel 'Jack Ketch's Puppets' which I am waiting on hardcopy proofing before I say 'Go ebook!', and then, I anticipate, it all starts again.

Hey Ho!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Another competition win this week! Poets of G+

Hey guys;

I have just found out that I have received the most votes this week, in Poets of G+ 'Prompt of the week', with my poem 'Killing Time' which you can find on my blog at...

http://1455bookcompany.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/killing-time.html

Thanks to the team at G+ for keeping these competitions alive and challenging!

First of my new version 'Leicestershire Myth & Legend' arrives!

Having suffered a miserable afternoon at the hands of the Welsh (England lost at Rugby, if you didn't know), I was cheered immensely, when a white van man pulled up, and delivered a package.

Surely not? Earliest delivery due after 21st March...

But yes, my new version 'Leicestershire Myth & Legend' in paperback for proofing!

Absolutely stunning. Looks far better than in the preview from Createspace!

One minor manufacturing fix and that's it!

Yo! Can't wait!

Details of my first two books on 'Feedaread'

Hey guys!

I have just been delighted to find that Feedaread are now advertising my two books on their 'out shortly' pages.

You can see what appears, by clicking on the following links.

http://www.feedaread.com/books/Jack-Ketchs-Puppets.aspx

http://www.feedaread.com/books/Leicestershire-Myth-and-Legend-In-Verse.aspx

When you are truly happy with your story!

Hey guys!

On Tuesday evening, my wife and I attended a folk music night at Leicester Guildhall, with the legendary Martin Carthy (Great concert Martin!).

As those of you who have read the previews to my first novel 'Jack Ketch's Puppets' will know, in 1850, the Guildhall was then Leicester's Town Hall, and incorporated the Police Station, Head Constable's House, and Courts, as well as Mayoral offices and Parlour.

This was the first time I had been back since last November, when I spent quite a long time down there, picturing what it would have been like in 1850, and who would have been wandering about, what they would have been doing, etc.

This was particularly true of what was then the Police Station rooms on the ground floor at St Martins end of the site.

What struck me on Tuesday?

I was surrounded by my characters and by my plot, the minute I walked through the doors. They came up and nodded or said hello, and I could see them and feel them, as I had described in the novel, and, IT WORKED!

I loved it. I really sensed that I had captured the essence rather than just the picture!

The proof of the pudding will be in the readers, so, guys, please let me know when the novel comes out shortly...did I give you more than just a picture? 

'Jack Ketch's Puppets' out shortly, through Createspace outlets, Amazon KDP, Feed A read and other good sites!

Please visit my website to read the previews if you haven't already done so.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Review - 'A Thistle in the mist' - Megan Denby

This review is from: A Thistle in the Mist (Kindle Edition)
This is a tale of Death; Love; Betrayal; Deception; Friendship; Loyalty; Faith; Determination, and Justice. 

Meara MacDonald's roller-coaster life twists and turns through a variety of events, in this absorbing read. 

A cleverly and beautifully crafted read, there is something for everyone, throughout. 

I was anxious that it might be a bit 'girly' for my usual taste, but Megan has woven mystery, intrigue and male lines throughout, and those, without wishing to give any more away, are brilliantly and accurately researched. 

Megan's choice of word, throughout, is stunning and at the same time spell-binding! A great first novel.

OFFICIAL REVIEWS REQUIRED - VOLUNTEERS PLEASE

Hi guys;

My first two books are getting very close to being ready for the market place.

I am expecting hard copies for final proof reads by 21st March. 

I would hope to get them onto the Market as reasonably soon as practicable thereafter.

What I would really like, is to have some third-party reviews of the work.

I would therefore ask if you would be prepared to read, if you have not already done so, either one or both and provide me with a short written review.

If you would be prepared to help, I would be most grateful, and would be happy to return the favour in due course.

The novel is about 300 pages.

The non-fiction is about 50 pages of background and verse.


Please indicate your willingness to participate by reply, and include an e-mail address, or I could put you in a circle, and then send out the relevant work in PDF format in early course.



Thanks

Phil

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Showcasing other Authors on my website

Hi Guys;

I have come to realise these last few weeks how many of you are scattered across the Globe.

I don't know how you go about increasing your visibility, but I would like to make an offer, and would be even happier if it was something that we could all share and reciprocate.

On my Website www.1455bookcompany.com , I am using the Home page to showcase other talent, whether that be a fellow Author, an artist for cover work, etc.

Currently , I am showing a link to the website of Canadian Author Megan Denby, who has been very welcoming and helpful to me over these weeks.

I hope that this will expose Megan to some of my connections, particularly here in the UK.

If any of you would like to, or be happy to be featured on my website, please let me know.

Of course there is a catch. In a couple of weeks time when my first two books are released, I might well do with a bit of exposure in your neck of the woods.


The Fire Breather

I would like to use this page to showcase some of the diverse material I am now producing...

This week (commencing Monday 4th March 2013) has been a very interesting week for me. I have been very fortunate, to be selected as winning writer in two group competitions, for short story entries.

The biggest pleasure has been in the Writers Discussion Group, where I posted this little dark number. The prompt was a picture of a Circus, and the rule was 600 words or less, starting with the line...

'I never told anyone...'

Here it is.

'The Fire Breather'



I never told anyone. It was safer, hindsight being such a wonderful thing, to say nothing and just hope that it never occurred again.

I was running out of choices though. How many circuses were still out there?

I had left the last one rather hurriedly, and was so, so close to coming unstuck.

The one thing I had gained from all those years working under the ‘Big Top’ was the way a person could be so easily lost in all the grease-paint and costume.

Lost? I mean disappear if you really want to know...in the truest sense of the word.

When Mr C. suggested I was what he was looking for, I was like a dog with two tails.

I must have freaked him out with my spontaneous fit of laughter, tears rolling down my whitened cheeks and staining the jaded, smudged, ruff around my scaley neck.

‘What’s so funny?’ he said.

I declined to respond.

I knew how my mind worked and desperately wanted to confess, there and then.

I knew I had limited opportunity, so apologised, and gave that pathetic sad shrug that clowns in grease-paint seem able to get away with.

‘When can you start?’ he asked optimistically.

‘How about the six tonight?’ I replied.

‘No, I want to check you out before I let you start for sure. Tomorrow will be fine’ he insisted.

‘Got a roof for tonight?’ he enquired

‘No, it’s just me and my bag. I can sleep under the stars, tonight. Actually suits me better. I’m not one for sharing - not very good getting close to people really’ I replied.

A little too honest, perhaps, with hindsight?

‘We got a spare tent at the back of the top. Last guy left it when he blew out rather fast on us. Still got a bed and a sleeping bag in it, if you want it?’

‘Outside will be fine’ I replied ‘at one with Mother Nature’.

‘Funny, a clown who doesn’t like to get close to other people?’ he asked, his eyes rolling and avoiding my own, delving a little too deeply, perhaps.

‘Not everything you see on the outside, matches what lies buried beneath’ I replied brusquely, not needing a grand inquisition before I’d even got my first show in.

‘Sounds a bit deep to me?’ he said

‘Look, either you want me or you don’t. I haven’t got time to be liked, and so I don’t like liking back. Is that such a crime?’ starting to get a bit pissed off, and sensing this was not going to end happily.

‘Don’t know if that’s so good for the rest of my team?’ he sneered.

‘Then perhaps I’d better be getting along and we’ll call it quits’ said I, now starting to wonder why I keep getting myself into these spots?

‘What makes you so special that I can afford to keep you here? He asked.

‘I’m also a fire breather, a damn natural one at that. The best’ I confessed

‘Fire breathers are ten a penny, what makes you so special?’ he sneered again.

HE ACTUALLY SNEERED, GOD DAMN HIM.

‘Let me show you’ I grinned.

A few minutes later, after I had shown him unequivocally, that I was the best there was, I was just walking away from his tent, when I bumped into one of the other clowns.

‘Hi there’ he said

‘Hi there’ I replied, smiling

‘Something smells good. Someone cooking in there?’ he inquired.

‘Yes, someone is’ I replied, and started walking once again.
 

**************


By the time I got to Woodstock



By the time I got to Woodstock
According to the local news
‘Bout a Half a million people
Were descending on Woodstock blues

Them roads were jammed for miles around
The fields, with mud they oozed
The air was thick with dope and sound
As we gathered for Woodstock blues

My first Free love was tasted
Amongst long straggling queues
With those who waited patiently
To get some Woodstock blues

On Friday rain descended
Muddy Water filled my shoes
Richie Havens warmed the audience
With his rhythmic Woodstock blues

On Saturday, more famous bands
Flew in - cos of them queues
Santana, Who and Mountain
They sung their Woodstock blues

Whilst Joplin stirred it up again
The peaceful of us snoozed
kept our heads down in the pouring rain
Making love to Woodstock blues

Sunday into Monday,
Site high on dope or booze
It all became electrifying 
With Hendrix’ Woodstock blues

By Monday, hell, the place was rammed
Half a million, all enthused
Crammed on Max Yagur’s dairy farm
Infusing Woodstock blues

By Tuesday, what was all the fuss?
Well, Joni Mitchell knew
I’d now become a child of god
Who’d help make Woodstock News

By Wednesday, so the papers say
The biggest Gig - old news
But I‘d could say, forever
I was part of Woodstock Blues

A Tale of two sisters


Why was it that calls from about two in the morning always took me to some strange events?

“They’ve taken my sister, they’ve taken my sister” came the shrill cry from the other end of the ‘999’ call. The caller sounded female, distressed and elderly, based on the Police operator’s years of experience.
“What is your name caller?” said the concerned operator, listening intently to the faltering voice.
“Edith, Edith Merryweather” came the weepy response.
“And your sister’s name?” 
“Marjorie, she’s seventy-six, the same age as me, and she’s been very poorly” said the caller.
“Where has this happened?”
“What do you mean?” asked the caller.
“Where has your sister been taken from?”
“Here, she just been taken, the doors are all still wide open” said the caller.
“And what is the address?”
“225 Mere Road” said the old lady “Please hurry, I don’t know where they’ve taken her” weeping turning to full blown sobs.
“We have some officers on their way to you now; you wait there” said the operator, at which point the caller cleared.
*****
“Charlie Alpha four one from control” crackled across the UHF radios tuned to the ‘Central’ channel. 
Alerting all the officers who were actually listening, and who were still awake, given the unearthly hour; the call would no doubt fall on the deaf ears of those who had found some quiet pull in, out of the way of prying eyes, and now giving it big ZZZZZs, or the ones who had turned their radios off whilst tucked up safe and warm at their local tea spot.
“Charlie Alpha four one, Sparkenhoe Street” came the response from the passenger in the Highfields area panda car, as always, alert, wide awake and reliable.
“Four one, make your way to 225 Mere Road. We’ve just taken a report of an abduction, an elderly lady, Marjorie Merryweather, seventy six years. Complainant is the sister, Edith”
“Four one, willco” came the response.
*****
The observer flicked on the Escort’s blue light, as the driver pointed the car left onto Maidstone Road, and headed up into the Highfields, the light bouncing off the nearby houses and turning darkness into intermittent light.
“Strange, this time of the night?” said the observer, PC Tony Lawrence, an experienced Central Division veteran of seven years, including this second spell back at Asfordby Street station.
“Probably a wind-up” said the driver, PC Nev Mitchell, a few years longer in service than Tony, all spent on the Highfields area.
“Still, get us out of this bloody cold!” said Tony “and a cup of tea either way, I suppose!”
“Gagging for one” said Nev, winding the Escort up to fifty, the engine whining as it turned up Berners Street, reaching for third gear, sending an assortment of cats scurrying for the safety of nearby alleyways and parked cars.
“Any other mobile Asfordby Street side to back-up four one?” crackled the new transmission.
“Charlie Alpha four two; we’ve just come ten one from the prowler on Forest Road, we’ll back them up” replied Pete Short, one of the shift of four that had started at ten pm the night before, at Asfordby Street.
“Four two; many thanks. If you can make your way and do a tour of the area, an old lady shouldn’t be hard to spot, even for you two” the voice of Sergeant Andy Bury, the night shift control sergeant at Charles Street, directed, a hint of sarcasm tinged with laughter, clearly audible.
“Four one, can you put us on speak-through, whilst it’s quiet?” said Nev, pulling up at the address.
“That’s the kiss of death, you used the ‘Q’ word, so now we’re doomed!” laughed Tony.
*****
As the car pulled up to the address, front tyre squealing as Nev got a bit too close to the nearside kerb, it was clear to see that the front door numbered 225 was wide open, and the light on in the hallway and adjacent front ground floor room.
It was not a night to be wandering around, particularly if you are old and ill. The sky was dark blue-black, and even with the light pollution from the city, constellations shone clear, the officers’ breath highlighted by clouds of cooling vapour, frost settling in for the night on the parked cars lining the street. A northerly wind blew, with every other gust making that eerie howl that cuts through you.
“No sign of any old lady in the street” said Tony, briefly updating pocket-phones over speak-through “Control, update our arrival at the incident location please”.
“Four one, roger to your arrival” replied Mary, the radio controller, who would be sat next to the sergeant’s console at Charles Street.
By now she would be moving around the little magnets with the call signs on ‘dynotape’, showing the current status of all Central resources at any one time, on the small but effective resource board. No doubt there would be a ‘MFH’ magnet next to the call signs CA41 and CA42 as she acknowledged the crews, moving them across to the ‘engaged’ column. Reliable Mary, one operator you knew you could always trust.
“Four two, show us in the area”
“Four two, roger” said Mary.
*****
Tony and Nev walked towards the open door, and noted the cleanly polished, red and white, Edwardian tiles, not a mark to be seen, other than a mere hint of frost on their outermost edge. A crafty urban Fox, probably from one of the derelict factory yards nearby, stared up from the middle of the road, eyes glowing, contemptuous of the interruption in his scavenging.
‘No signs of forced entry’ Tony thought.
A classic Edwardian terraced villa, with pretty feminine curtains at each window, all drawn closed. This had been a wealthy area once, and many of the houses had seen better days, but it was clear that this one was, or at least had been until recently, cherished.
“Hello, anyone there?” called Tony
“Have you found her?” came the frail reply.
Tony stepped into the hallway, opening the door off to his left, immediately inside; already ajar.
“Hello, you must be Edith, do you mind if I call you that?” addressing an elderly lady, sat half-in and half-out of a single bed which took up most of the far wall of the room. Frail and palid, looking very unkempt, the lady looked confused and frightened.
The woman was visibly shaking, and her cheeks tear stained.
“What has happened my love?” said Tony
“They’ve taken my sister away” sobbed the old lady
“Who has?” said Nev
“Those men, they’ve just taken her away with them” she replied
“Where was she when they took her?” said Tony, looking at the room, reflecting that there was only one, small, single bed.
The room smelt lived in, and had that musty smell that grows with age, infirmity and sadly, incontinence.
A small, three bar electric fire, glowed orange, plugged in by the front of the original hearth, but it gave off very little warmth to the room; a small folding leaf table, and a single dining chair tucked under the side, the sum total of the furnishings. No TV, like so many of the old folk in the area. No radio either. ‘Must be one somewhere else’ he thought.
“She was sat just there, next to me” said the old lady, indicating to a gull winged, leather, high backed arm chair, that had seen better days, the seat cushion threadbare and stained, in common with those of many of the elderly folk who saw out their life on the Highfields, seen so many times before.
“What was your sister wearing?” asked Nev.
“Just her nightdress and dressing gown, a pink one I think, and slippers, yes slippers she would have had on” said the old lady.
“And what is your sister’s name?” asked Tony
“Marjorie, she is seventy six you know” said the old lady
“And what did the men look like?” said Tony
“Big and dark, they had on black coats I think” she replied
“And did they have a car?” said Nev
“I don’t know, they carried her out and I didn’t see any of them again” said the old lady, starting to sob, and wailing in a low, deep, mournful tone “Carried her out they did”.
“Where does Marjorie normally sleep?” said Nev
“She is in the back room, down the hallway” said the old lady, becoming breathless.
“Better call an ambulance, she doesn’t seem too well herself” said Tony. “I’ll go and check the rest of the house”.
Tony walked carefully down the hallway, lit by an ornate, imposing glass ceiling fitting, which looked like it had been in situ since the house would have been first occupied. Again, the hall tiles were typically Edwardian; decoratively patterned  diamonds, highly polished and showing no signs of movement, no footmarks or anything dropped or disturbed in a struggle.
Opening the next door along on the left, Tony entered another bedroom, similar to the first, with a single bed on the left wall, as he entered. Then, a similarly aged arm chair, and some drawers. Odd pieces of ladies clothing littered the bed, which was disturbed, but the sheets were cold. A small black and white TV that was cold and dusty to the touch. It had the same musty smell as the one in which he had just walked away from.
No drawers were open, suggesting that nobody had hurriedly gone through them, or taken anything from them recently. The room looked almost locked in some previous time.
From the bedroom, turning left into the hall, he opened the door at the opposite end to the front door, and had to feel inside for a switch, the room in total darkness.
A kitchen, neatly piled crockery standing aside the sink, with two of everything present. Two dirty cups and saucers, both containing remnants of tea leaves stood on a small wooden table with a plastic gingham table cloth beneath them, the tea pot stood across from them, luke warm. Little in the way of food evident in cupboards, just the basics, a small loaf, butter, jam, milk and an old caddy with tea leaves, half full. No signs of frivolity or extravagance, just an old fashioned kitchen and contents.
The radio he had expected was an old style, brown, tortoiseshell by HMV, heavy and probably not used in years, sat in the middle of the table.
A quick check of upstairs, all shut up, almost frozen in time completely, with dusty furniture and empty wardrobes the story of a level probably rarely, if ever used today, sad and unloved.
No signs of a break-in anywhere; all the windows secure; not looking at all like a crime scene, Tony noted, walking back to the front door and starting to talk into his radio.
“Four one to control”
“Four one, pass your message, over” replied Mary.
“Four one, this is a strange one. Sure enough there appears to be somebody missing, but my instinct tells me there’s something not quite right. We’re going to have a more detailed look around the house, and I’ll get back to you shortly” said Tony
Nev, listening in on speak-through, moved to the hallway and shrugged.
“Weird this! Why would anyone take an old lady at this hour of the morning?” said Tony.
“She seems sure about her sister, and the descriptions are vague but sound like she’s actually seen them” said Nev.
“Do me a favour” said Tony “Go back to the nick and see if you can get hold of any duty officer at Social services, See if they have anything on the address. I’ll wait for the ambulance”.
“Won’t be long” said Nev “Bet there’s nobody there at this time that will tell us”.
“See if there are any lights on in the next few houses. Might be someone still up and about who might know them” suggested Tony. 
*****
Nev wandered off out of the front door, which he pulled to, but left on the latch, leaving Tony alone with the old lady. The old screech owl from the steep flight of Victorian steps, opposite, let out one of its high-pitched hoots, breaking the otherwise absolute silence.
“Can I get you a cup of tea whilst we wait for any news?” he said
“No thank you, but if you want one, help yourself” said the old lady.
Tony sat himself down on a simple wooden dining chair that he pulled out from against the small table, and sat down alongside her. The chair looked a safer and healthier bet for what he needed to do next, given the state of the arm chair, not that he hadn’t sat on worse over the years.
“I need to take some details from you” said Tony, reaching into the flat leather briefcase and pulling out a pro-forma ‘Missing from Home’ form, and a pair of statement forms, a facer and a continuation sheet, from amongst the assorted paperwork he always carried with him.
Reaching into the spring on the top of his A4 sized wooden clipboard, he pulled out his trusty black BIC, and clipped the top of the forms under the spring, where the pen had just lodged, securing them for whilst he wrote.
“It’s now two thirty five in the morning, Friday, December the 9th, 1977” he mumbled as he filled in the top line of the form, for date and time last seen “so it would have been about one hour ago she went?”
“About that, yes” she replied
“You say that Marjorie is not very well. What is wrong with her?” said Tony
“Old age and depreciation” the old lady said, with a smile, “just like the rest of us”.
“Is she on any medication?” said Tony
“No, not any more, not for a long time” said the old lady, smile giving way to tears again.
“Have you got any other relatives nearby?” said Tony
“No, they’re all gone, neither of us married. We’re the last ones in the family” she replied
“And how long have you lived here?” said Tony
“We have been here since before the war, it was our parents’ house. Never moved.” She replied
“What time did Marjorie go to bed?” said Tony
“She didn’t; she’s been sat here next to me all night, we just talk to each other and keep each other company” she replied
“And when did you become aware of these men?” said Tony
“Only when they were taking her away, all in black they were, all dark” she replied
“Do you mind if I have a little bit of a look around and look for anything that might help us; photographs or papers?” said Tony
“Haven’t had a photo taken for years” she replied “but feel free to look”.
Tony began to examine a small chest of drawers, that looked the most likely source of any useful, further, information.
There were some photographs, some in sepia, and some later ones, but most appeared to only cover a period he thought was about the time of the Second World War, judging by the dress and surroundings.
Tony picked out one or two family photos, and one or two photos of a woman standing on her own, probably in front of this very house, by the look of the door. 225 could just be made out on the adjacent wall.
“Who are these ladies?” said Tony, showing each picture to the old lady.
“That one is me; that one is Marjorie. We would have been in our 30s when they were taken” she replied
“Are you twins?” said Tony
“Yes” she replied
“And the family group?” said Tony
“Mum, Dad and the two of us. The boy was my brother, Arthur, who was killed in the war.” She replied.
“How long have you and your sister been on your own?” said Tony
“Our parents both passed away just after the end of the war. Losing Arthur broke their hearts. They died very quickly and close together” she replied.
“Marjorie, is that you?” said the old lady, looking towards the door out onto the hallway, sending a shiver down Tony’s neck.
“I don’t think there’s anyone here yet” said Tony. “Some ambulance people will be here shortly, just to make sure that you are alright”.
“That’s very kind of you, but I’m fine” she replied. “Wait; I thought I heard her come back in. Is that you Sis?”
“Just the wind probably, moving the doors” said Tony. It always made him uneasy, sitting with an old person in an empty house. Always something sorrowful about the whole process.
Tony sat quietly for a couple of minutes, filling out the sections of the form that he had started earlier, and that he now had answers for.
*****
As he scribbled a few comments in the ‘any other useful information section’, he turned over another of the pieces of paper he had pulled from the drawers, checking for anything useful as he should, he realised that he was looking at a Registrar’s ‘certificate of death’.

Marjorie Alice Merryweather. Date of death;  24th November 1946. Age at death;  44 years. Place of death;  225 Mere Road, Leicester. Cause of death;  Consumption. 

“Edith, have you had any other brothers or sisters that you haven’t told me about?” said Tony
“No, just the ones in the pictures, Arthur, Marjorie and me” she replied
“Are you sure that Marjorie has been living here with you?” said Tony, watching the old lady’s face for any signs of doubt.
“She was here earlier, until those men took her away” she replied
As she spoke, the door from the hallway opened, almost fully, as did the front door, which Nev had left on the latch, and a piercingly cold chill blew across the room, followed by one of those howling gusty sounds.
“Look, here she is now” said the old lady, suddenly smiling, broadly. 
Her face and body moved, turning, as if in synchronization with someone crossing the room, until stopping at the gull wing chair, then her gaze descending as if someone had sat down. For a brief moment, he would swear he smelled lilac or lavender waft by.
“That’s right Marjorie; you sit yourself down, and get warm again. You must be perishing. Now where have you been, worrying me and this nice policeman?” asked the old lady.
Tony felt a chill creep through his body, unlike anything he had felt before, and every hair on his neck and scalp tingled and stood on end. 
“Now then; I don’t suppose you feel like making us all a cup of tea now do you Marjorie? No? I suppose I had better go and do it as usual then!”

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