Completed commission. Crysis 2 – oil on canvas, 30 X 20″

Now to continue with my own work, ideas have gathered and ready to fly.


Murder Revisited


I am thoroughly engaged in planning and executing mouth watering comeuppances via my literary detective agency. I am not deterred that the first assignment went awry, was a disaster in fact but the Boss is determined not to loose heart, she will stick to her original plans and try again.
      The six women sleuth books I took from the library, to see if one matched mine in pace, tension or touches of humour and to which I may refer in my letter to an agent – don’t. I shall have to look further. (Does that mean I’m a one-off?)
      P.D.James, erratic pace, sometimes dead boring, writes of wisteria in a hot summer sun, (wisteria blossoms in spring), BUT I do connect to the protagonist and wonder if mine is also accessible? Time to call upon my ‘reader’.
      D.L.Sayers – NO, Susan Hill – no – M.C.Beaton, can’t face it.

However, two unexpected bonuses –

Antonello_St_Jerome_in_his_Study_14601. P.D.James describes a painting by Antonello, to which I was attracted. I found the painting on the internet, ‘St Jerome in his Study’, 1480.


The author has changed St Jerome to a ‘young, tonsured monk’, and there are no frivolities or oxen seen in the tiny but delightful landscape through the window, but P.D.James captures the feeling, perfectly.

The feeling of the painting, one of a man ‘in the spirit’, alone, in a mood of contemplation, connects me with my own, unfinished ‘murder’ painting of an author whose imaginative images come to life in her sitting room.

about 1475    

2. Susan Hill’s ‘Shadow in the Street’, names a book, ‘Learning to Dance’, by Michael Mayne. For some reason, I liked the title and looked it up on Amazon. Michael Mayne was Dean of Westminster Abbey and head of BBC radio religious programmes.
      On browsing further, I discovered that Michael Mayne suffered with ME. A condition which I live with. I have ordered the book in which he describes himself and ME, ‘A Year Lost and Found’.
      I also like the painting on the book’s cover which uses complementary colours – ie mauve/yellow – turquoise/gold, colours which make each other sing out loud.
      The post-script to Michael Mayne’s last book, ‘The Enduring Melody’, written when he had terminal cancer, seems to me to be important –

‘However mixed our motives in writing (or reading) books, in the end they are about the desire to share (or learn more) what it means to be human and what matters to us most, to speak what we feel not what we ought to say. For those who write such books and launch them into a critical world, they aim to be, in short, a small – and sometimes quite risky – act of love.’                                                      Michael Mayne, ‘The Enduring Melody’.

And this quote, used by Michael Mayne, expands and speaks to thoughts contained in my post ‘Positive Thinking’, January 2013, though spoken in a quite different way –

‘All is well. Not by facile optimism, not in blinkered evasions, but in the richest and most active dimensions of our humanity. It is the illumination we must and ever seek on the other side of the dark.’ Dennis Potter.

THREE WISHES – a modern fairy tale

1. A woman makes a wish to think of a foolproof way to make money from nothing (it’s her job) and sits on a bench beneath a tree in the park, it’s very early spring and the blackbird, robin and woodpecker are singing.
     She has complete confidence in herself, questions nothing. These are desirable assets for someone in her position.3wishes

After a while, aware that she is gazing at the dapples of sun on her hands and legs, she proposes that people pay for the amount of sun which falls on their skin. Because it’s too complicated to work out how much sun might or might not be available at any given time she draws up a list of inescapable rules. She has confidence in herself. These rules have nothing to do with reality, though she thinks they do.

2. Her second wish is to be put on a pedestal and paid well. She bounces to work, full of herself and her brilliant idea Only she could have thought of it. Why, absolutely everyone is liable! Logically, no one is exempt. Income from nothing assured.

Her work-place is a tower of oblong, open-plan rooms with secret bolt-holes equipped with chocolate éclairs and white wine. She has a smaller one of these without the addition of a hot shower and bottles of vodka.

The boss licks her hand and takes the credit.imagesCA6Y98OB

Just before lunch time, wearing an unmissable crimson dress from Fortnum and Mason, (she is determined to get the glory) she oversees every worker in the most gigantic space of all. Everyone is glued to their computer and absorbing gamma rays and thinking about gas bills (one is having a cuppa, secretly, and will be held up to ridicule when he returns, she can do that with pleasure, it’s one of her attributes). She applies a touch of ‘deadbrain’, a mixture of tunnel-vision and those heating bills, which she has developed and improved.
     Her rules are strict and nonsensical. They take on a life of their own and seep far beyond her brain waves into the ether.


Some people take tax-evasive action (which is perfectly legal) to escape the golden rays of the sun. They improvise and tape handkerchiefs to their faces with holes for their eyes so they don’t trip down the escalator or drive the wrong way to work and wear gloves.
Several clothing firms manufacture ‘coveralls’ with especially constructed and built-in eye filters to block the benefits of sunlight to which they add a government approved kite mark . The coveralls are designed to be culturally acceptable and also show social standing and are made overseas.
     Rolling with it, she attempts to insert a rule that only those who live in windowless rooms are exempt. These clothing firms soon go bankrupt at the addition of the ‘windowless room’ ruling.
     People outside her small but influential domain predict the results. Those whom she had managed to contaminate, defend her position to the death. As they are paid to do.

3. Her third wish is that her first wish is so successful she receives an MBE.


Firms paint their windows black; buses do the same and use a periscope sytem, individuals fix sun-proof blinds to their homes,a laser print of bricks/concrete face the outside (firms quickly rise to the demand and manufacture millions) some people fail to register the facts and attach umbrellas to their heads.
     The unemployed and disabled have the tax taken from their benefits but these are soon the only people paying taxes. They are also the only people enjoying the benefits of the sun.

Children suffer from:
Chronic liver disease, muscle weakness; drooping upper eyelid, motor speech disorder, slow growth.
Adults suffer from: fragile red blood cells, age spots, cataracts , brain function abnormalities and decreased circulation of blood amongst other things.

Fiscal Result:

There is initial income from the scheme but after limited success, it siphons away income rather than increasing it.

She receives a threat of ‘kneecapping’ which causes her consternation, a feeling she quickly shelves.
     Trivial drivel on TV news and in the newspapers causes the nation to enjoy watching how hard she falls.
     Blinds are ripped out, windows scraped clean. People wonder why common sense, abundant in five year olds, is so lacking.
     It takes a while and lots of money from the NHS to redress the sun tax. Money granted to the banks has to be diverted to the cause (temporarily).
     After her demise, she is employed at great expense (a bidding system is set up for her talents) by a large concern which wishes for (and pays the cost of a medium sized country for) anonymity.

Quote: ‘Money doesn’t talk it swears.’ Bob Dylan


Author Plans Murder:

author plans murderA character in my first novel – ‘Falling’, suggested that I write a book centred around her passion for comeuppances – so I have. Knowing her temperament has enabled me to weave a plot. I consider this to be an advantage – I have previously failed to have any idea what my characters might do do until they actually do it. Result!

Here follows a list of books taken from Southampton library this morning so that I may research which authors to refer to in the pitch letter to agents. I am told this is useful to enable ‘agent-orientation’ . TIP – from David Headley, should you find it useful, Francis Fyfield, always successfully follows the same ‘plot structure’. 

Dorothy L. Sayers – Hangman’s Holiday

Alexander McCall Smith – The Charming Quirks of Others

M. C. Beaton – Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye

Susan Hill – The Shadows in the Street

Ann Cleeves – Telling Tales

P.D. James -Death Comes to Pemberley

Elly griffiths – A Room Full of Bones