Search This Blog

Monday, 22 October 2012

So how's the writing going?

The writing is mostly editing at the moment, though I have got as far as getting 'Jane and the Bow Street Runner' onto kindle as well as on Amazon [in case anyone missed it].

Mostly I've been working on the 100 years of cat stories book which will appear on the other blog, so that's why I'm a bit dilatory.
I'm also working on the third Jane, Bow Street Consultant book with editing, which will be called 'Jane and the Opera Dancer'.  I'm writing the fourth, 'Jane and the Vanishing Valet'.
So I haven't fallen through a crack in the universe, I've just been busy!

I've also been getting the second Felicia book ready to publish, The Mary Rose Mystery, which is a lot more lighthearted than Poison for a Poison Tongue and involves Thomas Wolsey and a missing spy.  
It's going to look like this:

In fact I'm going to stick to the woodcut style of cover from now on and will eventually go back and redo PFAPT to be in the same sort of style.

And here's an excerpt:

      We went off towards the docks to seek out Master Tavocci to ask him to introduce us to Master Fenton; but we never got so far.  We passed through the gates between the wooden stockades that guarded the city and emerged onto the quayside; where it became apparent that Signor Bartholomeo had turned up.
      Had not the master of the trading cog ‘John and Emma’ been so conscientious – and so untrusting – it could have been weeks before we had known; and we should have lost a vital lead to the truth.  Also the innocent sailors of the ‘John and Emma’ would have had the bad fortune to be short a barrel of pickled herring.
     Master James Greengrasse – a Suffolk man, as it happened, out of Gorleston – had opened every barrel of provisions before setting sail to check he had not been sold short weight.
     They may say ‘Silly Suffolk’ but Master Greengrasse was not so simple at all.
     And he was not happy to find pickled ambassador as a replacement for pickled herrings; and brought the offending barrel back to the shore to complain vociferously about its shortcomings.

       “Thass orl very well for ‘ee tu say as how them ow’ barrel hed herrins in un when ‘ee laid un owt for Oi,”  he was complaining to the chandler “But they be-ant there now.  Oi ordered fish, not some duzzy Eye-talyun.”
      James Greengrasse was a squat, bandy legged man with a cherubic pink face that extended all the way into his bald crown.  It carried the lines that suggested it to be usually wreathed in smiles, but now it was reddened in an indignant flush and bore a frown of frustration.  
     The chandler was a tallish man, sharp of feature and with that sideways glance that marks out the not entirely honest in their dealings.  He was visibly upset.  He might have sold short weight from time to time, but he liked to know what cheats were being put over his customers.  A scandal of this scale might be hard to live down and could affect his trade.
      My master stepped up, his eyes gleaming in anticipation; and at the inherent humour in the situation.
      “Excuse me,” he said.  “You have found an Italian – and I am looking for one that has been lost.  It seems likely that the person of your, um, unauthorised provisions may be one and the same.  I have been authorised by my Lord Wolsey to investigate,” he can get quite sesquipedalian in his purple passages at times, if I may mangle Horace.  He added, smiling genially, “I’m sure you’ll both be happy to co-operate in helping me find out who has perpetrated this uncouth act to the potential detriment of both of you.”
      They regarded him suspiciously.
      The Suffolk man said bluntly
     “Ar, now, marster, hev yew swallered a grammar book tu git orl them ow’ jaw-cramp words an’ such squit?”
      Robin grinned.
     “Du yew tell me orl about ut, bor,” he slipped effortlessly into broad Suffolk speech.  “Account o’ how dew yew doan’t Our hint got a clew where tu go fyein’ out thus rum ow’ myst’ry.  Dew yew gimme owd hand, ourl be wholly greartful.”
      Master Greengrasse’s faced cracked into a huge smile that fit it better than frowns.
      “Arr, bor, whoi dint yew say as how yew wus a Suffolk boy?”  he said.  “But there be-ant orl thet much tu tell.  Orl Oi know is Oi picked up them ow’ vittles farst thing this moornin’ and stowed un.  Then Oi gooes along a checkin’ un tu see as how Maarster Bream here heven’t bin craarfty.” 
     I swear his speech got broader the longer he spoke.
      The chandler assumed a look of outrage at this summation of his alleged duplicitous activities.  Master Greengrasse went on cheerfully,
     “Then in this ow’ blurry barrel, what du we got?  Goo’blarst, maarster, Our’ll tell ‘ee what we got.  ‘Tis a corpus, not fit fer vittels.  Arr, an’ he du be on the skinny soide an’ orl, bor!” he laughed, wryly.
      “I put a barrel of herring to be collected!”  declared Master Bream, too loudly.  “There was nothing wrong with it last night when it was nailed down!”
      “Do you live on the premises?”  my master asked.  Master Bream shook his head vigorously.
      “No, your honour, I live up the street there, within the walls,”  he pointed.  “All this building is given over to storage and I’m having to build an extension.  I have a fine house away from the smell of salt fish.”
      My master nodded.
      “And anyone living locally would be aware of that – and that they could easily access your building with less fear of getting caught than anywhere else in the neighbourhood.  It is a cruel hoax to play on you and Master Greengrasse.”
    “Arr, and wot ‘bout moi herrins?”  demanded that worthy.  “Oi be a –wantin tu goo on the toide.”
    “I, um, could give you a warrant in lieu,”  suggested Bream to the shipmaster.
     “I do-an’t want no duzzy warrant.  Oi want moi herrins!”  Master Greengrasse was starting to lose his good humoured amusement and return to being irate.
      “My trade will suffer for this!  The devil fly away with your blasted herrings!”  Bream almost wept.
      “Arr, oi reckon he hev,  and Oi do-ant much loike wot he’m left in their plearce! Dew yew do-ant du someat about un, umma go-un tu git wholly roiled!”  Greengrasse was adamant.