“Is your father here?” Delaney asked.
The Book of Ashes
New from Sam Hawksmoor
Hammer & Tong August 2022 - print and kindle
"Great characters, a gripping mystery and the wonderful return of Rufus the dog" BH
I miss you so much... even when you’re right here
"This was supposed to be a simple track and trace job. Find the writer, bank the money. Now it's a horror show."
“My father doesn’t know it’s happening. He’s in Summertree.”
Delaney winced. Awkward. Summertree was the dementia clinic on Third Avenue. Expensive and inevitably long term. “That’s tough on him and you.”
“He still recognizes me. Just not all the time.”
“How can we help?” Asha asked, feeling a lot more sympathy for the guy now.
“I, um – I hired someone to write my father’s biography. Paid up front. He was supposed to deliver a finished manuscript three weeks before my father’s eightieth on Dec 9th.”
“I confess we’re not exactly literary critics if you’re worried about the quality of the writing,” Delaney remarked.
“I should have paid just half, but I had put a lot of time pressure on the guy to get it done and he would have had a lot of research to do.”
Delaney frowned. “Is it the money or the manuscript you’re worried about?”
“The money’s irrelevant. $10,000 is nothing, but I wanted it whilst he was still able to function. My father has done so much for Berg City and for me. My father made a difference. He was one of the good guys. This writer, Wolfie Sigurdsson, was supposed to gather all the details of my father’s life, interview his friends. Arnold Martinet mattered, Mr Delaney. Got a shooting bronze in the ’72 Olympics in Germany. He wasn’t a nobody.”
“Does your father know about this biography?” Delaney asked, curious.
“Not really. Find the writer Mr Delaney, that's all I ask. I want what I paid for.”
So begins a simple track and trace investigation. So ok, it’s likely the writer is a con artist preying on others need for recognition, but sometimes it hard to run them to ground. Luckily almost everyone leaves a trace. Asha and Delaney get to work. Turns out finding the writer is the easy part. The fact that he claims he’s being watched and told not to write anything on pain of death certainly adds a complication. Delaney thinks Wolfie Sigurdsson is just a drunk and a liar, but it turns out it was speaking the truth. Someone really does want him dead.
It begs the question why? Who? And what did the old man with dementia tell him? Is it, as Asha believes something to do with the grassy knoll? After all the old man is an expert shooter ...
The Book of Ashes is the second Delaney and Asha investigation – some secrets are meant to be kept forever.
Print version available now
© Sam Hawksmoor August 2022
Read the first Delaney and Asha novel 'We Feel Your Pain -so you don't have to'