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the bones of mastadon

the backcover blurb

The known data is a minefield:

His clothes had no labels, his shoes were spit-polished, his feet were curled, he had a smoke stuck up behind his ear, and another on his collar, a backpage slip of the rubaiyat was tucked deep into his fob pocket; the Tamam Shud, the matching book tossed into a car nearby, the man poisoned, his luggage booked into a station locker, his false teeth missing, his right hand lacerated, his physique remarkable, his large hands soft, his nails clean, his calves overdeveloped. No wallet found , no identification, no nationality, no background, no hat, a pastie in his stomach, cargo masters’ tools in his luggage, no spare socks in his luggage, five ties though, and a woman’s hair clip. A couple of clothing labels that read Keane, or Kean, or Reade. A blade of barley grass in his sock. A missed connection to Glenelg.

His Kensitas smokes were fitted into an Army Club pack, he was suntanned to his groin.

A numeric / alpha code was scratched into the tossed rubaiyat, and a telephone number. Faint. The number a local call.

A local woman living with her young son. The nurse’s son Leslie. The nurse unmarried.

Mystery enough!

Then wider minds took a look at wider times. They looked over at the fields where John Le Carre grazed, the Kim Philby fields. Maclean Burgess and Blunt feeding there. Spies have their ways. They exchange with each other fair value yet they hide their intent under layered tenements of clothing.

For instance:

The lawyer there is possibly a banker, or a journalist – and he travels widely on commercial business through all the borders of Europe in 1937, Hitler rampant.  In France he is John, in Lebanon William, back home in England he is Kim. There are days between his changes of identification where he has none.

Kim had a secret trade kept secret from both sides because he served both sides, Russia and England.

The Somerton Man showed signs of this secrecy of intent. No labels on his clothing and no identification in his pockets. A torn slip of the backpage of the rubaiyat in his fob. The book it came from tossed through an open window of a car parked nearby.

The poison that killed him. What poison? Who killed him?

They lie about like the whitened bones of a hundred dead mastodons do these unconnected Somerton facts. Blokes forever wandering about in there picking up one, seeing if it will fit with another, discarding both, finding another, going back for the first two, losing their way, finding another three.

Two men and one woman. Teresa.

Those three are minefield enough.

But when two men want the one woman, one man sometimes kills the other.


All the best

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. You’re only just rubbing your hands together here. It’s gonna be a great read, mate.

    All the best to you and yours this Christmas mate. 🙂

    December 21, 2012
    • back at you braithy .. and yours mate. It’s going to dribble out.

      December 21, 2012
  2. But it’s such a long way from Third Man country to Somerton, isn’t it?

    December 24, 2012
    • You’ve got a Buchan in the library as well do you Miss Lismore?
      – and who do you know that does a good grade Vanity publishing in the big smoke? …. this thing I’m doing won’t be big, but it will be rare – somebody has already put the money down for the first print edition. Wrote the cheque without looking.
      – Rare from the start, because I have it PK ….. down cold, the whole narrative. I’m going to manufacture the equivalent of a rare stamp, maybe a blood-red rubaiyat cover, or a cuckoo shrike. Issue it now and then, like a book of verse.
      A little extra in each addition, perhaps. There is so much in that particular bone field.
      Talk about a niche market.

      December 24, 2012
  3. Ben #

    Peter. My internet provider stopped providing over the festive period. You have been a busy boy. The butcher bird gets my vote.

    January 4, 2013
    • hey Ben, writing a blasted book now – but it’s a big secret

      January 4, 2013

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