Friday, 20 December 2013

Great Train robbery

I was sitting in bed drinking a mug of tea when I heard that Ronald Biggs had died. They played a recording of him speaking about the great train robbery and his life. He showed no sense of being a bad person or doing illegal things. It is alleged that he started his criminal career by looting the houses of bomb victims in London during the WW2. During the great train robbery the driver was beaten up and never worked again. Biggs could see nothing wrong in whatever he did.
This made me think about the way in which many people hide any feelings of doing bad things by some justification. Many people never feel that any of their actions are illegal or morally wrong. This can even apply to leaders of countries and businesses. We only have to look at the way in which Stalin thought he was helping the Russian people. I suspect the North Korean leadership feel the same. Then there are bankers. They show no signs of thinking that they were wrong in the excesses that caused the great crash. Most do not seem to have learnt any lessons from their past actions by the way they are acting at present.
All of this reminded me that I have written about this in a novel called An Ordinary Life. It is about the way people ignore their consciences and justify their actions as good. In the novel, Tom is an academic. He makes love to his students, allows his brother to invest his money in dubious schemes even though they both support left wing causes and gives advice to the Mr Big criminal on setting up legitimate business. All this comes to a head when Tom first has to sanction one of his staff for not only making love to a student but enhancing her marks for an exam. Then his friend is shot and Tom has to decide if he will help  in the revenge of the criminal gang.
An Ordinary Life published as a paperback with Available for purchase from Amazon.
It is also available for download as an ebook from kindle and for all electronic readers from

Friday, 6 December 2013

My smashwords titles

I have published Brotherly Love, Running after Maria,The Teacher of the Rombuli, The Return of the Exiles, The Prisoner of Parison and Tales from the Sea on

These titles can be downloaded for reading to your PC, to iMac, macbook, iPad, iPod,iPhone, to Kindle, Sony Reader, Nook and Kobo.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Legacy from Mary

My thriller A Legacy from Mary is in the proof reading stage. It will be out in paperback in a few weeks. 
Ken Flood was an academic and events in the wider world did not effect his life. Then his friends Joshua and Mary were killed. The only connection was a country called Mengambi, Joshua was a Mengambian and Maria untook short courses in the country. Suddenly Ken was caught up in the game of power excersised in Mengambi when he agreed to take Mary’s place teaching on the short courses in Mengambi. What he wanted to find out was if there was more to his friends deaths than reported. Can he survive the pressure from his employer in Mengambi and the request by his brother to gather information.
It will be available in paperback from Amazon or in addition to being available as an ebook for download from Amazon through Kindle.

Fines for using bus lanes.

I get very angry when motorists complain bitterly about getting fined for using bus lanes. They bleat that the local authorities are making money out of them. In many ways it turning the spot light onto the greedy local authorities,  an easy target. What they forget is that using bus lanes to drive round traffic congestion is illegal. They it is who are breaking the law. They are so arrogant in their belief that the motorist is above the law when it comes to using the roads that they cannot see that they re wrong. If they do not want the authorities to make money from illegal use of bus lanes all they have to do is not use bus lanes!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Parking restrictions

A girl lies bleeding t the side of the road outside a school. Paramedics struggle to save her life. A car is slewed across the road. Cars parked in the no stopping zone outside the school gates. The girl rushes to see her friends but cannot see along the road. Parked cars all because parents defy the restrictions. It is too far or to wet to make them walk 40 metres.
An electric scooter lies mangled in the road. The elderly lady being placed in an ambulance. A van is parked on the pavement even though there are double yellow lines designating no parking. The elderly lady has had to go into the road to avoid the illegally parked van
A fire engine rushing to attend a fire cannot get through the traffic. It is congested because two cars have parked on double yellow lines so that their drivers can get money from a cash machine at a bank. Paramedics struggle to save the life of the man in the ambulance.
Parking restrictions are in place to make roads and all their users safer. They are not designed as cash generators for local authorities. If car drivers do not want the local councils to make any money from parking fines there is a simple answer. Do not park where parking is not allowed or over stay the proper time.
I think that linked to this is the problem of people being over weight. When I was on holiday there were many men and women grossly over weight. All the these fat people had hired cars and did not walk very far. That is the link to what I wrote above about car drivers parking illegally so that they do not have to walk anywhere. The minister for Local Government should lose weight and resign for suggesting that parking restrictions should be lifted.

Tales from the Sea

I have reduced the price of the Kindle download addition to 3.99

Friday, 8 November 2013

Tales from the Sea

Tales of the Sea is a semi-autobiographical novel based on my life at sea between 1957 and 1969.
In its pages the reader will meet the characters with whom I sailed and their antics. They will experience nights ashore and visit through my eyes exotic places. Read about the different ships, old and new as they plough across the oceans carrying the products of the world Throughout there is the sea and its dangers. The sea can be angry or benevolent.

The essence of the novel can be summed up in a poem:
The Call
The sea is calling, always calling
Even when the sailor has long left voyaging behind.
The sea calls, ever calls,
Over the noise of this sometimes dreadful life.
To sail away , to leave this life behind,
But to where?
That is what adds to the thrill.
Let the voyage be long or short,
Let the oceans be calm or fierce,
In the urge to sail away,
Lies man's eternal quest
For something new.
Why oh why does man always strive after the new
When accepting the present would save a lot of heart ache.
It has long been a mystery to me but,
More than in any other profession,
The sea  offers a greater chance to satisfy this need.
The sailor never arrives
Because each new port is a stepping stone to the next
And on to the next
Until the nomadic lifestyle grows too much.
It maybe that the sailor observes other people
Settling into a pattern of life which brings rewards
Such things as family and home,
Anchored to other views of living
Rather than constantly on the move.
So the sailor leaves the sea
And puts down roots.
Or does he?
The sound of a seagull screaming ,
The wind moaning around the roof of his house 
The sound of waves lapping on the shore
Will awaken in the hidden recesses of his mind
The longing to feel the excitement once more
As the ship goes silent,
Ready to leave for the sea.

The girl in the white dress

A short story which was incorporated into my semi-autobiographical novel Tales From The Sea.
The girl in the white dress

The San Fortunato arrived in Balak Papan, Borneo, late one evening as the big red ball of the sun was setting into the dark green of the jungle. As soon as the ship docked, the agent boarded and informed the Chief Officer that the cargo would not be ready to load for two days. 
The next morning while sitting my cabin entering safety information in the oficial log, the phone rang.
“ Good morning Third Mate,” It was the Captain sounding amused and unusually cheerful. “ Mr. Bolton, the Managing Director of Eastern Operations, is visiting the ship for lunch. He will be accompanied by his aide and his daughter. She has requested to be shown round the ship. As you are the youngest officer, you will be the ideal man for that job.”
“ Do I have to?” I asked. “ She will be impossible. Educated at some private boarding school. We will have nothing in common. Why not ask the second mate?  He mixes with people like her all the time.”
The Captain laughed. “ This is an order, Third Mate, not a request. I have asked the chief officer to look after the ship while you are entertaining Mr. Bolton's daughter. Try not to upset her with too much of your social comment!”
As I put the phone down, I had a mental picture of the Captain chuckling to himself about how I would be uncomfortable showing this teenager round the ship. I sighed, anticipating the morning was not going to be much fun for me.
Later,  a sailor opened my cabin door after knocking loudly.  “ Third Mate. There are couple of official looking cars approaching the ship along the jetty.  I think it would be a good idea if you were on deck to greet whoever is in those cars when they arrive.”
Standing at the top of the gangway a few minutes later, I watched curiously as two Mercedes cars approached the ship. They stopped at the bottom of the gangway. Three white shirted, dark trousered  Indonesian men got out of the second car and adjusted their sun glasses. They spread out along the jetty facing away from the ship and the cars. Like the bosun who was standing by my side, I laughed out loud. It was straight out of one of those B gangster movie. 
Once the bodyguards were in place, the doors of the lead black car opened and a man got out. He was tall with slicked back grey hair and glasses, dressed in an immaculately cut tropical suit and shiny shoes. As soon as he alighted from of the car, he placed a panama hat on his head. Trailing him, a younger man carrying a brief case and dressed in a short sleeved white shirt and white trousers. Finally, a girl followed. 
From where I stood she looked about fourteen and my heart sank. Her brown hair glistened in the sunlight and like her father, she donned a hat as soon as she was out of the car. She wore a short white dress and white sandals. This was the girl I was going to have to show round the ship.
Mr. Bolton ignored the duty seaman and climbed onto the gangway unaided. The girl and the man with the briefcase followed. When they reached the deck where I was standing, Mr. Bolton nodded to me.
“ Show me the way to the Captain's cabin, Third Mate,” he ordered without so much as a goodday. His accent was clipped. 
The girl looked at me with large brown eyes. Close up, she was pretty with a good figure and was older than the fourteen I had first estimated. Her expression was that adopted by the local Lady of the Manor for one of the local peasants she happened to meet. The next few hours were not going to be pleasant, I concluded
“ This way, Sir,” I answered indicating the ladder leading to the accommodation deck. As he followed me, he was looking round the ship as though checking that all was in order. The girl looked sraight ahead. The man with the briefcase trailed in their wake mopping his forehead with a white handkerchief.
After showing them to the Captain's cabin, I returned to the deck and walked round the ship. As everything was in order, I returned to my cabin and the safety log. I had not been there for long when the phone rang.
“ Come to my cabin and collect Mr. Bolton's daughter, Third mate.” It was the Captain and he still sounded amused. 
I grunted into the phone but dutifully climb the ladder to his cabin. Deep within myself I was cursing the Captain. How was I going to show this apparently bored, spoiled girl around the ship without saying something out of place or upsetting her? I imagined the rest of the crew laughing behind my back at their egalitarian Third Mate looking after a girl from a very privileged background.
Mr. Bolton smiled when I entered the Captain's cabin. “ Lydia is ready to be shown round the ship. I will leave her in your capable hands.”
Lydia climbed to her feet, smoothed down her white, short dress and placed her sun glasses on her small nose. She was almost as tall as me.
I led the way out onto the boat deck and waited for her. The sun was high in the sky and the jungle looked particularly green across the river from the berth. Heat haze distorted the trees and the boats drifting with the current further down the river.
“ Well Miss Bolton,” I said smiling,” What would you like to see?”
She looked at me, though I could not read her expression with her eyes hidden by dark glasses.
“ If we are to spend the next hour in each others company, you had better call me Lydia,” she said without a flicker of emotion.
“ Eddie,” I replied.
She shrugged. “ Daddy said you would show me all over the ship.  Lead on McDuff.”
Taking her instructions literally, I led on. Viciously ignoring her white dress and sandals, I started with the engine room. Well not exactly ignored the white dress but took a certain pleasure in the thought that she might learn what dirt was all about. She listened politely as the engineer told her about the boilers and the turbines. Followed me down to the propellor shaft and the steering engine room. Going back up on deck I climbed the ladder behind her. The dress was so short I had a good view of her sturdy legs and floral panties. Stop these lewd thoughts, I seemed to hear my mother saying.
Then to the galley to glimpse lunch being prepared and the dining room. Down the corridor to the games room. I followed this by walking along the deck to the focastle, the anchors and the chain locker. What amazed me was that despite my best efforts, when we emerged back on deck again, she appeared as clean as when we started.
Finally I led her onto the bridge. We lent over the chart table looking at the charts of the area. Rapidly I showed her the wheel and the magnetic compass on the top deck. Lastly we went to the radio office and the sparks explained the wireless system. 
We stood on the bridge wing looking over the deck when we had finished. “ Would you like to come to my cabin for a drink before you go back to your father?” I asked tentatively.
For the first time that morning, she smiled. “ That would be nice. What can you offer?”
“ I have beer, fruit juice, coke or gin.”
“ A beer would be fine.”
She looked curiously round my small cabin when I showed her inside and sat her down in the chair. After I had served the beer, we talked about ourselves. I found out that she had lived a sheltered, rarified life compared to mine. It sounded great but there were drawbacks. Her father and mother had moved around the world on company orders. Lydia had been deposited in various boarding schools for most of her life. Then in the holidays, if she could not join her parents, she would stay with relations. I started to feel sorry for her.
“ I take my A levels next year,” she remarked which told me she must be seventeen. “ If I get good grades I will be off to Oxford. I already have the promise of a college place.”
“ What will you study?” I asked being polite.
“ Ancient history.” She smiled. “ There is no need to to pretend interest. Daddy cannot order you to listen to me or take an interest I what I am doing.”
“ I was enjoying hearing about your life,” I remarked truthfully.“ We have to get you back to the Captain's cabin so that you can go to lunch.”
“ Thank you for showing me round,” she said politely.
Over lunch, Mr. Bolton invited me to spend the afternoon with his daughter  at the club in the compound. To my horror, the Captain concurred.
That afternoon, I rode to the company accommodation compound through the oil refinery in the car sent for me. Laid out like a village were bungalows of differing sizes surrounded by manicured lawns and flower beds. At the centre was the club house with bar, shops and a gym. Across the road from this was a nine hole golf course. A bit apart from the other buildings was the large, sprawling bungalow of the Boltons.
The car dropped me outside and the driver told me to phone the car pool when I needed a lift back to the ship. I stood at the edge of the lawn for a while looking round and then walked along the path to the bungalow. A maid met me at the door and took me around the back where Lydia was waiting. She smiled in welcome. Pulled round her body was a wrap.
“ Come on,” she said taking my hand. “ We must get to the pool.”
The pool was large surrounded by tiled terraces with sun loungers. Lydia chose a spot and waved to the other people sitting or lying on other sun beds. She pointed to a changing room back from the sun terrace and I quickly changed into my swimming trunks. When I rejoined Lydia,  there were towels on the sun bed. A white coated waiter stood waiting, a tray in his hand.
“ I have ordered my drink. What do you drink?'
“ Bacardi and coke.” I said quickly reaching for my wallet.
Lydia laughed. “ You don't have to pay. Everything goes on my father's account. In fact every member of the club pays for their guests because there is no cash used on the compound.”
It turned out to be a wonderful afternoon. Though Lydia had at first appeared superior and stuck up, by the pool we were like any young people enjoying each other's company. As we talked and swam, I came to realise that Lydia must be lonely unless other expatriates brought out their teenagers to stay. Also, when coming aboard the ship, she must have been nervous. Why she could have been apprehensive, I could not imagine. Her up bringing must have taught her to handle such situations. That afternoon, I suppose she grasped the opportunity to talk and be with somebody close to her own age.
I was invited to stay for dinner at the bungalow of the Bolton's that evening after our swim. 
After dinner, Lydia and I went for a walk around the garden. It was very pleasant with the insects chirping in the shrubs, a soft breeze  and stars twinkling in the sky. To my surprise Lydia took me to a summer house at the bottom of the garden and we made love on a bench illuminated by the moon. A perfect way to end our day, Lydia remarked, as we walked back to the house.
As the ship sailed, I was surprised to see Lydia waving goodbye from the river bank. There had been no promises of long lasting friendship or undying love. Just a pleasant day spent in each other's company. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Trust in the Police

Listening to the radio today I was struck by the comments of many people that because of the way they have been treated by the police in their everyday life. I realised that this is not a new problem. I remember when I was growing up in the 1950's that there were people who did not like the police.
I used my experience from then in my novel AN ORDINARY LIFE.
The main character in the novel Tom is sixteen and rather protected by his parents and school as to what life is like for some living on the council estate near his home. His friend Derek has just been arrested for shop lifting and Tom seeks him out to find out what really happened. When he finds him sitting in the park with two girls, Tom hears about their lives. About fathers who have sex with their daughters, of sisters becoming prostitutes and husbands who beat their wives after drinking bouts. It is way outside not only his experience but completely alien to his way of life. Then he says innocently:

“ Why didn’t you go to the police?” Tom asked innocently. He imagined that is what would happen in similar circumstances at his home or among his parents friends.
Derek, and surprisingly to Tom, Pat laughed bitterly. It was Pat who answered. “Nobody goes to the police from where we come from. It is against the custom of the people living on our estate. Most people who live round where I live in the middle of that estate up there, hate the police. Well hate is too strong a word but they are suspicious of the police. They’re scared that if they call the police in for a small matter, the police will use that as an excuse to look further at what is happening on the estate and its surrounding area. As far as I know there are a lot of rogues living on our estate. Oh, not everybody is bent but a lot of people living there are. With the poverty and all, what else are they supposed to do? Most of those who are not bent will stick up for the other people on the estate, trying to sort out their problems between themselves. That is the obstacle to anything being done about family violence. Just like Derek’s, my dad used to beat us at the least little thing which upset him. We were lucky in that he did not try to interfere with me or my sister. He only stopped beating us last year when my uncle threatened to smash his head in if he did not show some regard for his family. Uncle Harry is even bigger and tougher than my dad. Dad has always worked so we have plenty of money to live on unlike some of the people. Did you know, I passed the eleven plus? My dad told me not to get ideas above my station. I would not go to grammar school because he could not afford to send me and, anyway, girls should leave school as soon as they were fifteen and go out to work to contribute to the household. It was not for girls to go to grammar school. One of these days, I will be free and then I will go to college to get an education.”
The blurb for the book says:
Money laundering is illegal. Even Tom Houseman knows that. He, as an academic, makes a distinction between helping somebody to set up legitimate business and the source of the money.
The novel follows the life of Tom Houseman. From his early childhood on the edge of a hard council estate to eminent Professor with a worldwide reputation and great wealth. The story explores the manner in which most people regard themselves as honest and law abiding although there are times and circumstances when they ignore the rules of behaviour or of some moral code. These people justify their actions by ignoring their conscience or making excuses for their behaviour. In extreme cases they give the impression that morality is not an issue in their case.
Tom Houseman has a boyhood friend called Derek from the council estate and, though their paths diverge after junior school, he stays loyal to his friend. Derek becomes the right hand man of the criminal Mr. Big and introduces Edward. During his life, Edward accepts opportunities presented by his friends and his brother. These enhance both his standing in society and his wealth. All the time, he ignores and denies the moral and legal implications of taking advantage of these offers. As time passes, he has to accept the implications of his choices.
Will he finally have to face these hard decisions or will he sail serenely on living, to him, this ordinary life?
AN ORDINARY LIFE can be purchased as a paperback from Amazon or downloaded from Amazon for Kindle and all electronic book readers.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Police Honesty

In view of the controversy concerning the police and whether we could trust them, this was an exchange between two colleagues concerning the police in the UK. They had been in West Africa and seen the way that the police could arrest and detain people without trial. It was at the same time that Ken Sirawawa was executed. It comes from my novel An Ordinary Life.
' Back at the hotel that evening over a beer before going to bed, Brian remarked. “ At least this could not happen in the UK, Tom. There would have to be suspicions and some evidence before anybody was arrested. Then the trail would have to be in public with proper evidence.”
Tom smiled. “ I am not so sure that the police are above trying to get at people they do not like in ways other than arrest and trial. Look, if they arrest somebody but do not charge them they can influence the life of that person substantially. They can even spread rumours through their friends in the press or drop hints about people they suspect or do not like without even arresting them. You know how difficult it is to shake off a bad reputation even when any rumours are proved unfounded. Still what happened here could not happen in the UK, I give you that.”'
When he arrived home This happened to Tom.
' Jane never finished what she was about to say because the front door bell sounded. Looking at Tom, she said, “ I’ll go and see who it is.”
A few moments later Jane appeared back in the kitchen followed by two men. Her face was white and drawn. Tom frowned because he felt he recognised one of the men but could not place him. It was the square body that nudged Tom’s memory and the face though this was more fleshy than he remembered.
“ Professor Houseman?” the man asked looking Tom up and down.” I am Detective Inspector Henderson. Will you accompany me to the station voluntarily?”
Tom shrugged. “ Why?”
“ We want to question you about your relationship with Derek Jones.” he stated grim faced.
“ What if I refuse?”
“ I will have to arrest you but I would not like to do that. It would be easier for all concerned if you came with me.”
“ Of course,” Tom smiled shrugging his shoulders into his jacket.
To Jane he said. “ Phone Tony and ask him if he will come to the main police station to help me. Tell him what has happened. Get Belinda if you can to come and  keep you company. Then phone Edward and inform him of what has happened.”
Tom put his arm round her shoulder. “ Don’t worry. We will soon clear this up and I will be back with you.”
Henderson said to Jane. “ We will send some men to search his papers. They will have a search warrant.”
Tom followed the policeman out of his house. Jane stood in the doorway watching as he got into a car, waving slightly in reply to Tom’s reassuring smile.
The car ride to the station was undertaken in silence. Tom hardly noticed the passing houses and streets or the park by his old school. Deep in thought, he was rehearsing in his mind the likely path of the interrogation. Glancing at his companion, he remembered back to his school days. Phil Henderson had been a classmate but not a friend. In those days he had been something of a loner and had always made plain his envy of Tom’s apparent friendship with most of the other pupils. When they had both left school, Tom had gone to university, Henderson into the police. They had played football together for the school team, Henderson a bull of a centre forward, Tom a fast winger. Even then Henderson had not fraternised with the rest of the team. Tom wondered what effect their earlier relationship would have on the interview. Since leaving school they had met on a number of occasions mainly at civic functions but had hardly acknowledged each other.
The car arrived at the police station and Tom was ushered quickly into the building, down echoing corridors to be placed in a sparse room with a formica topped table, a number of plastic chairs and a standing cupboard with some electronic equipment on top.
“ I have to leave you for a moment,” Henderson informed him. “ I will order some coffee. Constable Barnes will be by the door.”
Henderson left and a few moments later another police man came in with the coffee. Tom sat and stared at the wall well aware that Henderson was playing games, trying to make him nervous about what was going to happen. As he had managed to do in similar circumstances like waiting to address and take questions from other experts at international conferences, Tom sank into himself. He waited, not showing the observing policeman that he was concerned.
About thirty minutes after he had been left on his own, the door opened to bring Tom back from calmness. Henderson entered  followed by another man dressed in a rather crumpled suit with his tie lose at his neck.
Henderson pulled up a chair to the table indicating for the other man to do likewise. He placed a green cardboard folder on the table and nodded for the tape machine to be switched on.
“ Time 1550 at Porthampton Central Police Station. This is an interview with Professor Tom Houseman concerning his relationship with Derek Jones. Present Professor Houseman, Detective Inspector Henderson and Detective Connolly. Will you confirm you presence?”
Tom smiled. “ Professor Tom Houseman.”'
Even though Tom was released without charge, this is what happened concerning his work.
' He was ushered into the Vice Chancellors office as soon as he arrived. The office looked empty when he entered with the large oval table ready to seat a dozen in conference, blank and uncluttered. The glass fronted cabinets lining the walls reflected the sunlight streaming in through the large picture window at the far end of the office from the door. Prominent on one shelf clearly visible to anybody in the room were the books written by Professor Keeley, Porthampton University’s Vice Chancellor. In front of the window was the biggest desk Tom had ever seen even when compared to those of some of the pumped up government ministers in places he had visited.
Behind the desk with the light at his back in true Hollywood fashion sat Professor Keeley. A small man with balding head but surprisingly broad shoulders, Professor Keeley was one of the most eminent scientists of his generation.
“ Come and sit down Tom,” Professor Keeley indicated one of the chairs on Tom’s side of the desk. As Tom sat down he took note of the copy of the local paper with the screaming headline lying on the top of the desk.
“ You wanted to see me?” Tom asked politely.
“ I will come straight to the point,” Professor Keeley picked up the paper and held it up for Tom to see. “ I suppose you have read this?”
“ Yes,” Tom replied his eyes narrow but his face expressionless.
“ Can you explain what it means?”
“ What is reported in the paper,” Tom waved at the paper in Professor Keeley hand. “ It is supposition about my private life and as such is no concern of yours or the university.”
“ Let me be the judge of what concerns the university and what does not.” Professor Keeley snapped, throwing the paper onto the desk top. “ Any adverse publicity for the university whether involving one of the staff or the whole university has an effect on the reputation of the university in the wider world. Having policemen come to the campus with a search warrant to get into one of my professor’s offices came as quite a shock.”
“ Did they find anything?” Tom demanded. 
“ I have no idea. It is not something they would have told me.” 
“ So on no evidence of wrong doing, you are going to apply sanctions to me or take me before the council?”
“ That is a university procedure. If any member of staff is engaged ion activities which bring the university into ill repute, they have to answer to the Council.”
“ I have done nothing wrong. The police let me go without any charges being offered. That says I am innocent of any wrong doing.”
“ You were still taken in for questioning by the police.” Professor Keeley was being stubborn.
“ So if we take this to its logical conclusion, if you do not like somebody you can get your friends in the police to take them in for questioning and then discipline them even if they have done nothing wrong. That smacks of a police state.”
“ Don’t be silly Tom. You will have your say at the Council. What do you suggest I tell the Council people when they ask?”
“ Tell them what you know,” Tom shrugged.
Professor Keeley steepled his fingers above his desk. “ That is part of the problem. I only have the report in the local paper and the television item to go on. I was hoping you would fill me in with your side of the story.”
Tom shook his head. “ I still think this is all part of my private life and no business of the university. Everything I have done which might have effected my standing in the university and the university’s reputation has been with the agreement of the university committees. It really bugs me this attitude of you and some of the Council. You have been quick to take part of the credit for my research findings especially when it has been successful and gained publicity. I have always made sure that the name of the university is prominent whenever I give a paper at a conference or publish anything. All of my consultancies have been taken under the university procedures and a great deal of money put into the university coffers. What more could I have done?”
“ But it is your association with a known criminal that worries me.”
Tom got angry then. “ Who the hell says that Derek Jones is a known criminal? Where is your proof? If a student included that sort of accusation as a fact in one of my essays I would tell them to back it up with examples before including it. Now where is your proof?”
Professor Keeley sat upright in his chair. “ I grant you that there is no proof about Derek Jone’s criminal activities but you were shown to be an associate of a man with a very murky life.”
“ Stop there, Marcus,” Tom ordered. “ You are in danger of libel. He is the Chairman of a listed company, Hunt Enterprises which owns many sub businesses especially in the transport field. I have known Derek all my life. We lived close to each other and went to the same school as infants and juniors. All right I passed the eleven plus and he went to secondary modern but we stayed friends. He introduced me to Mr. Hunt of Hunt Enterprises and I did some consultancy work. Mr. Hunt turned Hunt Enterprises into a limited company and asked me to be a non executive director. After consulting the university authorities, it was agreed. I have been a non executive director ever since. Derek succeeded Mr. Hunt when he died. That is the story of my friendship with Derek Jones. As even you have to admit there is nothing sinister in our friendship.”
“ I hear what you are saying but I still have to put your arrest before the Council,” Professor Keeley spread his hands. “ The next meeting will be in a month. Make sure you are there.”
“ I must protest,” Tom said angrily. “ You do not have any grounds for putting me before the Council!”
With that closing remark, he stormed out of the Vice Chancellor’s office without saying goodbye.
As soon as the meeting started Tom realised he was not going to win the backing of the majority of the Council. There were too many other professors and academics who, for some reason, appeared to resent his position in the university and the outside world. They were supported by many of the non university members. Why he could not say though that might have been the product of the way Derek and the other board members had built up Hunt Enterprises. No matter how he put forward his arguments and his defence there were many voices raised against him. It was as though they believed the police and wanted there to be truth in the matter. Even many of the people who he regarded as friends remained silent in the face of so much hostility.
After the meeting, Tom now very angry and trying to contain his erupting emotions, barged into the Vice Chancellor’s office. The security guard in the foyer tried to stop him but one look at Tom’s face and he quickly got out of the way. After all Professor Houseman was one of the senior academics in the university. Professor Keeley’s secretary tried to stop him but Tom barged passed.
Professor Keeley was standing by the window talking to one of the other professors Hugh Morely. 
“ What is the meaning of this?” Professor Keeley demanded putting down his cup and reaching for the bell.
“ Hugh would you leave us please?” Tom asked politely.
Hugh put down his cup and left.
“ Sit down Professor Keeley,” Tom ordered. “ I have something to offer you as a way out of our problem.”
Professor Keeley sat down behind his desk. “ Nothing has been decided yet about how the university is going to deal with you.”
Tom laughed. “ Professor Keeley you were at the meeting. There were enough staff and outsiders against me for me to realise that if it comes to a vote, I will be asked to resign. In other words I will be sacked. Now I will fight any dismissal right to the top of the profession even appealing to the Privy Council if need be. That would not do the university much good would it?”
“ It would cause grave danger to our reputation,” Professor Keeley conceded.
“ Now this is my proposal,” Tom smiled. As he had that day in Nigeria when he had decided on a course of action, he felt at peace with himself. “ The university is asking staff who are over fifty to put in for early retirement. They are giving away ten years enhancement to the pension. I will put in for early retirement on those terms. You will then give me a contract for sixteen hours a week, the hourly rate to be determined, to complete my research contracts. Don’t say anything until I am finished. There are many universities both in this country and abroad who would jump at the chance of employing me. Now all but one of the research contracts I am fulfilling at the moment are in my name. I would be within my rights to take these with me if I left. Is my proposal acceptable to you? Will it be accepted by the rest of the university?”
Professor Keeley looked as though he had been manoeuvred into a corner and did not like the feeling. He looked around the office as though trying to find a way to refuse but finally he nodded his head.
“ You have us in an untenable position, Tom,” he said eventually looking at Tom over the top of his glasses. “ Some of my colleagues are not going to like this. I will have all the papers drawn up and sent over to you as soon as possible.”
“ Good,” Tom turned to leave but then turned back. “ Oh one other thing. If I am to help you out in this way you will have to get any chance of me being censured off the agenda. I will follow the minutes of the next meeting of the Council with interest.”'
Most policemen are honest and doing a great job in protecting the public. The problem is that each incident which sheds doubt on their honesty even though it might involve only a few policemen, puts in doubt the the trust between the public and the police.

AN ORDINARY LIFE can be purchased from Amazon for downloading to electronic readers or as a paperback.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Brotherly Love

My thriller novel Brotherly Love is now available as a paperback from and Amazon. It is also available as an ebook for downloading to Kindle from amazon and from for downloading on all electronic readers, macs and pcs.

Ken Flood was an academic immersed in his work until that day he agreed to help his brother by delivering a package to London. Now he was running scared. Hiding from everybody. He did not know who were his friends or his enemies. Running and hiding, jumping at even long looks from strangers. Threatened on all sides but he had to turn to some friends. Where will it all end, he asks himself? Why did he think by helping his brother he was invoking the idea of brotherly love.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Charity Largesse

It shocked me to ear about the salaries taken out of charities by their executives. I thought charities were in business to help others not line the pockets of those who run them.
A parable from the bible sums this up: He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,[a] but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.
Somebody reaches into their purse and gives from their taxed income believing that they are helping the cause. Before any help is given out their money has to pay the £150000 a year for the top person. Where has the idea of giving time to a charity gone? How can these people sleep easily in their comfortable beds with full stomachs at night while less money goes to the good cause.
In my novel An Ordinary Life I explore the way in which people justify their actions no matter how dubious.
Money laundering is illegal. Even Tom Houseman knows that. He, as an academic, makes a distinction between helping somebody to set up legitimate business and the source of the money.In my novel I explore the way in which people justify their actions no matter how unacceptable.
The novel follows the life of Tom Houseman. From his early childhood on the edge of a hard council estate to eminent Professor with a worldwide reputation and great wealth. The story explores the manner in which most people regard themselves as honest and law abiding although there are times and circumstances when they ignore the rules of behaviour or of some moral code. These people justify their actions by ignoring their conscience or making excuses for their behaviour. In extreme cases they give the impression that morality is not an issue in their case.
Tom Houseman has a boyhood friend called Derek from the council estate and, though their paths diverge after junior school, he stays loyal to his friend. Derek becomes the right hand man of the criminal Mr. Big and introduces Edward. During his life, Edward accepts opportunities presented by his friends and his brother. These enhance both his standing in society and his wealth. All the time, he ignores and denies the moral and legal implications of taking advantage of these offers. As time passes, he has to accept the implications of his choices.
Will he finally have to face these hard decisions or will he sail serenely on living, to him, this ordinary life?
It can be purchased from Amazon as a paperback or for download for all electronic readers.

Monday, 5 August 2013

A Ceremony Of Innocence

My novel A CEREMONY OF INNOCENCE explores the relationships in a family one summer. Mrs. Brookes is so excited that her sons Mark and Jim will be on holiday at home together for the first time for ages. Mark, the eldest son, left home after his A levels to go to sea. He is now an officer serving on an oil company's tankers. His brother Jim has just finished his studies at university and has been awarded a first class degree. Charlie their father is a shop steward at the local shipbuilders. There is the threat of redundancies at the yard following the reorganisation of the shipbuilding industry in the country. Both sons have the reputation of being left wing but differ in their attitude to life. Mark grabs every opportunity for happiness even if that means compromising his principles or upsetting his family. Time at home is short and he is determined to enjoy himself. Jim is very serious about his left wing causes and adds his weight and those of other left wing friends to the workers trying to stem the threat of redundancies in the yard. From this is the source of friction between brothers and between Mark and his father. Mrs Brookes struggles to maintain a calm home with the increasing tension. This is the background to the explosion between the brothers made worse by Mark's friends being able to exert influence. The novel explores the tensions bubbling in a family caused by differing attitudes to the way in which lives were lived. 
This is available as a paperback from Amazon and for download from the Kindle store for all electronic readers.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

The problems of Leadership

Archbishop Welby is learning the hard way about the problems of leadership whether in the church or other organisations. What he said was right about the sharks of the payday loan companies. It reminds me of when I was young and the loan shark sat in the back of the bar in a pub with his large brutal looking henchmen and dishout loans to people at exhorbitant rates of interest. Even if the gangster was pleasant there was always the threat of violence if the loan was not repaid. Of as much concern to the church and government should be the prevelence of adverts on TV for gambling. This ruins as many people as drink, breaks up marriages and increase those living rough. Three cheers for the Archbishop.
It reminded me of a chapter in my book Tales From The Sea about becoming the Captain of a ship. The Captain is in overall charge of the ship and responsible for all that happens on board. If there are any problems, he will have to take the blame and the punishment. The Captain cannot be running things all the time and has to delegate to other officers. The same applies to Archbishop Welby:

I joined the Arrow as Captain at Hayes Wharf where HMS Belfast is now displayed. In those days it was a cold store berth and the Arrow had a refrigerated hold. It carried bacon from Poland to London. Captain Moncur was pleased to see me and had everything ready for a speedy transfer of the ship. I signed all the papers, took charge of the safe keys and watched as the brass plate with Captain Gubbins replaced that of Captain Moncur on the cabin door. After seeing him down the gangway and into a waiting taxi, I climbed back on board realising for the first time that I was officially in charge of this ship.
I had to undertake all the tedious tasks that the master had to finish before the ship could sail.  Like seeing agents, office staff and some cases the police. The role of captain is not as glamorous as it appears to the outsider. The few hours before sailing besides the paper work, the master has to deal with all those people. Once they were all ashore, I was free to take over the navigating of the ship. This is how I remember that first time I went on the bridge of a ship as the Master.
After being called to the bridge, I adjusted my black tie in the mirror making sure that the knot was just right. The white shirt was pristine clean and my trousers newly pressed. Taking my jacket from the hanger, I mentally shone the four gold bands forming the diamond on the sleeve. Once in place, I fastened the gold buttons. Certain that this looked fine, I picked up my cap from the desk and adjusted it on my head. The new gold laurel leafs gleamed in the light streaming through the window of my cabin. The mirror showed that I looked the part of a ship’s Captain.
When I reached the bridge, the pilot was waiting. He congratulated me on my promotion when I joined him. He was the river pilot who navigated the company’s ships from Gravesend to either Surrey Docks or the London Pool.
“ Congratulations on your promotion. Are we ready?” the pilot asked.
“ All ready,” I replied feeling strange at giving the orders. “ We can sail.”
Over the radio, the pilot requested Tower Bridge to be raised. I stood on the bridge wing watching the red lights flash and the traffic coming to a standstill. The two halves of the bridge slowly separated and rose into the air.
“ Right Captain, we can go,” the pilot remarked with a smile.
“ Let go aft,” I gave my first order as a Captain of a ship and watched the ropes slowly come on board.
The pilot grinned. “ Slow ahead,” he ordered the third mate.
I stood and watched as my command slowly turned to take the stern away from the quay.
“ Stop. Half astern.”
The ship steadily left the berth until there was enough room to turn successfully into the river. I lent against the varnished rail making sure that the four gold rings on my arm were plainly visible to anybody who happened to be watching.
The rail flanking the road leading to Tower Bridge was crowded with people watching as we sailed closer to the bridge. I made myself conspicuous to the watching people, standing straight and proud on the bridge wing.
The ship sailed under the open wings of the bridge, the tracery of the ironwork above my head. Then we were out into the river with the entrance to Surrey Docks to the south and Saint Katherine Dock to the north. The ship picks up speed.
I instructed the third mate look after the pilot and went into the radio room to tell the radio officer to inform the company that we were out of the Pool of London and heading for Gravesend and the sea pilot.
The ship sailed serenely down the river passed the Royal Hospital at Greenwich and on to Gravesend. The steward brought coffee and cakes.
As we approached Gravesend, a launch set out from the pilot station jetty. The river pilot turned to me and said, “ Thank you Captain. I will see you when you return. The ship is all yours.”
As he left the bridge, I realised for the first time that I was in complete charge of the ship. The wheelman grinned at me.
“ Slow ahead,” I ordered the third mate. He moved the telegraph and I heard the bell ring. The engine noise softened as the ship slowed. The pilot boat manoeuvred alongside and I slowed the ship some more. The sea pilot climbed the ladder and the river pilot left. He waved to me as the pilot boat left the ship and headed back to the shore.
“ Half ahead,” I ordered and the noise of the engine increased after the third mate had moved the engine telegraph.
The sea pilot arrived on the bridge. “ Good morning Captain. I’ll take over now. Congratulations on your promotion.”
“ Good morning. I will be in my cabin if needed. The third mate will look after you. Call me when we are passing Southend pier.”
Reluctantly I left the bridge and went down to my cabin. For a while I engaged in the various administration tasks that any Master had to undertake when the ship left port.
The call came as the ship passed Southend. Looking out of the window I noted that the sun had gone and the mist had descended making all around appear grey and dull.
When I came back to the bridge, the second mate had taken over from the third mate. The ship was heading out to sea through the sand banks at the mouth of the Thames. The red bulk of the pilot boat could now be seen about ten miles ahead. The pilot ordered the course set for the ship to rendezvous with the pilot boat 
The pilot manoeuvred the ship so that the wind was on the side away from the approaching cutter. and slowed the ship.
“ An uneventful passage down the river, Captain,” he remarked. “ Hope you have a pleasant voyage. She is all yours now.”
He shook my hand and accompanied by the second mate left the bridge. I stood on the bridge wing watching as the pilot climbed down the ladder into the waiting cutter. When the cutter swung away from the ship and the sailor was pulling in the rope ladder, I turned and pushed the engine telegraph to full ahead.
“ Steer 075,” I ordered the wheelman and watched as the bow turned and then steadied. The second mate joined me on the bridge and worked out the position of the ship.
Looking round the ship from the bridge I found everything in order.
“ Its all yours, second mate,” I said and walked from the bridge.
When I reached my cabin, placed my cap on the top of the chest of drawers and my jacket on a hanger, it hit me. For the first time since setting out on a career at sea, I had nothing to do with the actual running of the ship. The ship would be navigated by the other officers and they would resent any interference from me. Even though I was responsible for the ship and the conduct of the voyage, many of these responsibilities had been delegated as was the nature of seamanship, to the rest of the crew. In many ways the captain is a distant figure who is in charge but not needed most of the time at sea. A figure in the background who could be called if there were problems but kept away when all was running smoothly.
I poured myself a gin and tonic and got stuck into the paper work promising myself that I would not keep looking out of the window. It was very hard to stop myself walking back onto the bridge to check on progress. In truth I would not be wanted anywhere near the bridge until we approached the pilot station off the River Elbe. When I got the call from the chief officer that we were approaching the Elbe River it came as a relief. I now had something to do other than sit and try not to worry. I came alive once more as the ship approached the pilot station. I gave the orders for the wheelman to take his station. Then I manoeuvred the ship so that the pilot could climb aboard.

Tales From the Sea can be downloaded to an e reader or purchased as a paperback from Amazon.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

A Legacy from Mary - a thriller by Eddie Gubbins

My thriller novel A LEGACY FROM MARY has been published with Kindle. It can be downloaded from Amazon  for all e readers at a price equivalent £2.76.

Ken Flood was an academic and events in the wider world did not effect his life. Then his friends Joshua and Mary were killed. The only connection was a country called Mengambi, Joshua was a Mengambian and Maria untook short courses in the country. Suddenly Ken was caught up in the game of power excersised in Mengambi when he agreed to take Mary’s place teaching on the short courses in Mengambi. What he wanted to find out was if there was more to his friends deaths than reported. Can he survive the pressure from his employer in Mengambi and the request by his brother to gather information?

Friday, 7 June 2013

Speed Cameras

The debate on the enhanced safety provided by speed cameras has once again reared its head. Research has shown that the cameras reduce the death rate by an average 25%.

In 2008 I wrote this short story about sped cameras. I am quite happy for it to be reproduced as long as I am informed.

Eddie Gubbins
They are pervasive! They are everywhere! They flash! They make money for the government! They are not fair! Nobody likes them! They are an intrusion into everybodies life! They are an echo of  Big Brother from “ Nineteen Eighty four!” They should not be allowed to get away with this!
So thought John as he changed into his black sweater and black trousers. As he pulled on his black jacket, his heart raced at the thought that he was going to stand up to this menace. By his actions this night, he and his friends would take one small step in ridding the world of these things. He did not have words to describe how he felt about their existence, creeping silently without notice along many streets on the edges of towns and cities. They must be eliminated and not allowed to proliferate like some alien species breeding their way to taking over the land.
Before leaving his house to join his friends, John crept into the bedroom where his daughter Lisa lay sleeping. He gently lifted the duvet and made sure she was comfortable. Lovingly, he looked down at at her young, innocent face framed by that shock of blonde curls. He bent down and kissed her forehead. At the door, he turned and took one last look at her face framed in the small night light she always insisted on having beside her bed. She was smiling in her sleep, looking for all the world to John like a little angel in a stain glass window.
Carol, his wife, was sitting by the fire watching the late film on television and drinking her bed time drink when he looked into the sitting room. 
She looked up, smiled. “ I will be in bed when you get back. You will be careful won’t you John?” 
John kissed her cheek and smiled in return. “ I am always careful when on a mission. See you later when I get back.”
John had to admit to himself that Carol knew what he was up to on those nights he left the house late. She never objected, never tried to stop him going out, merely told him, as she did this night, to be careful. Whenever he thought about it, John was never certain whether she approved of what he was doing or not. Deep down he understood that she let him get on with his campaign, avoiding any argument which might upset the domestic harmony and in doing so, effect Lisa. Before leaving his house, John picked up the package he had prepared earlier in the evening, checked the contents and stuffed them into his shoulder bag.
Outside the house, it was dim under the widely spaced street lights lining the road where he lived.  As he came out of his drive, the lights of a car parked further down the road from his house came on. Seeing this, John walked quickly to the car. As he approached, the car door opened and he got into the back, depositing his package onto the back seat. There were two men in the car, both like John wearing dark clothes.
“ A good night for it,” George remarked from the driving seat. “ Terry has the hoods.”
Terry grinned, his teeth white in the dim light. John took the black balaclava from Terry and placed it on the seat next to his bag. Once John was comfortable, George drove off towards the outskirts of the town. Near a cemetery and a park, George found a quiet parking spot, parked the car and sat watching the road. All was quiet. With a grin at the others, he pulled his black balaclava over his head, nodded to Terry and John and got out of the car. Terry and John followed, Terry carrying a folded light ladder, John a shoulder bag.
With George leading, they walked towards the main road, keeping close to the hedge which surrounded the cemetery. As they approached the main road, George held up his hand as a signal for Terry and John to stop. Looking up and down the road, George made certain that nothing was in sight. He shrank further into the shadows when a car came over the brow of the hill to his right and round the sharp bend in the road a hundred yards from where they stood. The car slowed quickly as it came towards the cemetery and passed the yellow box on top of a post near the edge of the road. There was no flash as the car sped away, before slowing at the traffic lights near the junction further down the road to their left.
Once all was quiet, George waved and the three men moved out of the shadows of the hedge and ran across the open space to the post. Terry assembled the ladder while George stood watch. John placed the bag on the pavement and arranged some cans and wires on the tarmac. Giving half of these to Terry, John climbed the ladder. Hurriedly, he placed the wires around the yellow box and attached the cans to the lenses and the cover for the camera film. When this was done, he reached down, took the rest of the stuff from Terry and attached this to the back of the camera. Sliding down the ladder, John lit the fuse as Terry folded the ladder away. George signalled for them to run and they quickly rushed into the shadow of the hedge by the cemetery. There was a wosh and suddenly flames engulfed the yellow box. 
At this, George turned away and hurriedly led them back to the car. As they approached the car, they peeled off their balaclavas and slowed to a walk as though they were three men returning from the pub. By the time they were back in the car, the glow had faded.
They laughed and applauded once back in the car, patting each other on the back. Still laughing, George started the car and drove back towards the main road. When they passed the camera, it was blackened and drooping and obviously not working. They could not help letting out another shout of joy.
“ One less for the money grabbing government to make money out of,” Terry giggled as they sped back to their homes. “ They should trust us motorists to drive safely without all this nineteen eighty four stuff. I know when I am driving too fast and always slow down.”
“ See you in the Royal Oak on Friday, John,” George said as John got out of the car. “ We can talk about which one will be next.”
“ See you Friday,” John replied as he shouldered his bag, waved to Terry and walked the few yards to his house.
All was quiet in the house, the windows dark. In the hall Carol had, as usual, left the light burning. John took off his coat and hung it on it’s peg in the hall before going through to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee and stow away his bag. He sat for a while thinking about their campaign and how successful they had been so far. Though they had never tested his theory, he was convinced that most people supported what he, Terry and George were doing. Sighing, he rinsed his cup, placed it upside down on the draining board and went up the stairs. 
He looked in at Lisa. She lay on her back, her eyes tight shut, her blonde curls framing her face and a beautiful smile on her lips. Crossing the floor silently, John kissed her forehead and closed the door gently as he left her bedroom. Carol was asleep, curled up under the duvet one hand under her cheek, her face looking so peaceful in the light from the landing. John took off his clothes, slid into the bed by her side and kissed her gently on the forehead.
The sun was shining on the park making the grass appear more green than normal. The flowers in the flower beds gave a flash of colour and the ducks on the pond looked up in anticipation everytime anybody walked by. 
The little girl skipped along the path, her blonde curls bouncing on her head and a smile on her face. “ Look Mummy,” she called in an excited voice. “ The ducks want some bread. Did we bring any?”
The woman walking by her side smiled and reached into her bag. “ Here.I didn’t forget. Now you be careful of the water.”
The little girl with the blonde curls and washed out jeans, trotted across the grass to the pond. The ducks, as though they had been waiting for this moment all afternoon, came squawking and pushing across the pond to where the girl was standing. With an excited giggle, the girl slowly broke the slice of bread into pieces and threw them into the water. Her squeals of laughter were almost drowned out by the squawking of the ducks as they fought over the scraps of bread.
“ Come along,” the woman said taking her daughter’s hand. “ We have to get home to cook your daddy’s dinner.”
The girl smiled her angelic smile and skipped along beside her mother. They left the park and turned onto the main road by the cemetery. Getting to a place along the road where there was a traffic island in the centre, they paused to let the girl look right and left and right again just as her mother had taught her. There was nothing in sight. The girl looked curiously at the blackened yellow box drooping on its pole like some tree which had been struck by lightening. She did not say anything to her mother. They started across the road, then there was a roar as a car came up over the brow of the hill turning sharply right passed the camera. There was a squeal of tyres, the car bucked and rocked and then a sickening bang as the car smashed into the little girl and her mother. They did not have a chance. The car was travelling too fast in the knowledge gained from the email grapevine that the camera was inoperable. After hitting the girl and her mother, the car skidded uncontrolled and smashed into a wall by the cemetery. Silence descended, broken only by the blaring sound of the car horn. People came running, cars stopped and the smashed car was soon surrounded by helpers.
John followed the policeman down the long, dimly lit, concrete corridor. Their shadows stalked along the wall at their sides like ghosts accompanying Macbeth as he went to meet the witches. Their footsteps echoed off into dark side passages. John felt numb. He had felt numb inside ever since he had been called into the human resources director’s office that afternoon. A policeman had been standing there by the desk and as gently as possible had told him what had happened. 
At the end of the corridor, the policeman pushed open a door, asking John to wait. John stood by the door hardly hearing the rumble of voices from inside the room. After a while, the door opened and the policeman waved him inside. The room they entered was white tiled with a row of what looked like over big filing cabinets to one side. In the centre were two metal tables with white cloth covered shapes laying a on top.
A man in a white boiler suit smiled faintly at John and motioned him over to one of the tables. Taking hold of the white cloth, he gently drew it back. The blonde curls were now revealed framing a bruised face. The blue eyes were closed. John nodded trying desperately not to sob out loud. The man in the white boiler suit replaced the white sheet. Walking to the other table he lifted the white cloth. Carol lay her face bruised and puffy. John nodded and turned away.
The policeman held open the door to the room and led the way back down the corridor, the footsteps once more tapping their echoes down dimly lit side passages leading to the depth of the hospital. Their shadows accompanied them like the ghosts of John’s past come to heckle him.
“ If those idiots had not damaged that speed camera, the car might have been going slower and might have been able to stop.” The words of the policeman dropped into the lengthening silence of their passage along the corridor.