Hot news, continued
Peter’s THE LIZARD IN THE CUP is also available: http://www.themurderroom.com/books/l/lizard-in-the-cup,-the/
And on amazon:
Here’s the American amazon link:*
And here is the end of chapter one to whet your appetites:
. . . “The first thing you ought to do is contact the local police. They . . .”
“No cops,” said Thanatos. Behind the two words came the whole force of his soul, now focussed again. This mattered. Mattered more than his hypothetical murder.
Pibble didn’t like it at all, nor the stillness of the rest of the group, waiting to see how he’d take it. He turned to the trolley and found a bottle of Whitbread’s, much too chilled for his taste. When he turned back with the icy glass in his hand the faces round Mr. Thanatos were still forcing themselves into naturalness. Only Doctor Trotter, who was standing over by the window teasing Zoe’s broken English with his pidgin, seemed unaware that a new and nastier wind was blowing.
“You still want to help, Jim?” said Mr. Thanatos. There was a question in his hot small eyes, and it wasn’t Who’s been paying for a holiday you could never have afforded? It was Who do you trust? Where are your loyalties? Who is your friend?
“I suppose so,” said Pibble. “I was going back tomorrow. I’ll have to ring up Mary . . .”
“I like you, Jim,” he said. “Now tell me what to do.”
Pibble found it hard to collect his thoughts as he stood in front of the armchair and watched Tony d’Agniello’s long fingers moving in small caresses through the fuzz of fur that showed on the rich man’s chest where his gold robe opened in a vee. It was impossible not to feel jealous—jealous in a different fashion from how he might have felt if she’d been curled up against heavy, handsome Dave instead of this gross old bear.
“How long have they known you’d be coming here now?” he said.
“A week, ten days. I didn’t know myself. Buck was here already, doing a job for me, but the rest of us came out almost as sudden as you.”
“All right,” said Pibble. “I think Buck’s right and you should stay inside the fence for a couple of days. It looked quite good to me…”
“Cost twenty pounds a yard,” said Dave. “We’ve got guards on it, and three dogs. We can arm the men.”
“You said a couple of days, only?” said Buck. He sounded as though that spoilt the fun.
“Suppose we treat the threat as real,” explained Pibble. “There are three serious possibilities. First, that the enemy have an ally inside the house, who might, for instance, poison you. Second that they will try a commando-style attack, probably from the sea. Third that they will send a couple of professional gunmen to the island and try to ambush you. Shall we take them in that order —which is actually the order of improbability.”
“We’ve hired a new gardener,” said Dave. “And there’s a room-maid I’ve not seen before.”
“Pay them off,” said Mr. Thanatos. “We can grow weeds and sleep in dirty linen.”
“OK,” said Dave. “The mouth of the bay’s narrower than it looks. We can get Tisiphone round.”
“Until a sou’wester blows up,” said Mr. Thanatos. “I’m not having my new boat smashed for a crappy idea like this.”
“If a sou’wester blows up there won’t be any ski-ing and you can go to Paris,” said Dave. “A raid’s a lot to lay on, isn’t it, Jim?”
“Yes. That’s why I said it was improbable. You’d need a boat, a crew, someone who knew the water … The best bet is gunmen on the island. I think we could check that in a couple of days.”
“It’s a hell of a lot of island,” said Dave. “Guerrillas hid out for months here in the war.”
“It isn’t like that,” said Pibble. “When a professional lays on a job like this—usually it’s a bank raid—the first thing he plots is his getaway. He won’t tackle it unless there’s an escape route. Here he’ll have a powerful boat at a safe anchorage, and another over at Zakynthos probably. He will pretend to be a tourist, which will give him a reason for wandering about in unlikely places, and my bet is that he wouldn’t seem to have any connection with the getaway boat, which would have arrived separately. He’d be staying at one of the hotels, or just conceivably in a tent. So what we’ve got to do is check the hotels, have a look at the new arrivals if possible, and check the safe moorings. If we draw blank in both, I think Thanassi will be safe out on the rest of the island. The odds would have risen, and he’d be staking a hundred years against his week, which isn’t such a good bet.”
“We have come here to work,” said George. “Not to play foolish detective games.”
“OK, OK, we’ll let you off,” said Mr. Thanatos. “Dave, too. What’s your Greek like, Jim?”
“Puerile,” said Pibble sadly.
“Hell. Buck can check the hotels —he’s only got to show his card and they’ll give him every document in the building— line all the guests up for him and throw out the ones he picks on. OK, Buck?”
“Zoe can check the harbour for you,” said George. “This is a stupid game, but she will enjoy it. She likes boats, and making friends with strangers. It will amuse her while I do my boring work.”
“That’s great,” said Mr. Thanatos, beaming. “She can find a few pretty girls for me while she’s at it. Then Jim can do the rest of the island, seeing he thinks it’s so easy.”
“What does it consist of?” said Pibble.
“Nothing except a bunch of phoneys out at the South Bay villas, the other side of the town,” said Dave. “Some of them have jetties, and they all speak English.”
“Is that all?” said Pibble, surprised.
“Most of these islands are like that;’ said Dave. “They look as if you could land anywhere, and so you can; but the minute a wind blows up you’ve lost your boat. Even those South Bay villas are dangerous in a west wind, and this place is hell in a sou’wester. The rest of it’s rocks and cliffs and a few beaches.”
“Then we should be able to do it in two days, quite easily,” said Pibble. “After that you’ll have your professional bodyguards here, and they can keep an eye on the likely places in case something turns up after we’ve checked. I don’t think there are any other precautions we can take with the men we’ve got, and even if there were I don’t think there’d be any percentage in taking them.”
“Don’t forget the monastery,” said Mr. Thanatos.
“Hell, they wouldn’t try up there,” said Buck.
“Best anchorage on the island,” said Mr. Thanatos. “And those two old lushes would do anything for a few hundred drachs. They know more about smuggling than they do about praying. If they get their souls past St. Peter it’ll be as contraband. You go and look them over, Jim. Look the whole place over. It’s worth the visit.”
“What’s your interest, baby?” said Miss d’Agniello, tweaking a hair out of the mat on his chest “I don’t see you getting to be a monk.”
Thanatos clutched her to him and his grating laugh shook the Dubuffets.
* * *
* And with reference to a blog comment saying that the YELLOW ROOM link is UK only, here’s the American:
Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.