Welcome to a blog in which you will find examples of my work in two areas and comments on whatever topics come to mind.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pages from an Unpublished Novel

Outskirts of a village, South-West France.
Oil on board 18 x 13cm (7 x 5in)

’Of evil grain can come no good seed.’ – Proverb

   Commentary:  In falling in love with an attractive Parisian divorcée only weeks after his wife’s tragic death from cancer, is the irreligious ex-scientist, Dale Ingram, guilty of a monstrous afront to decency and decorum; or are certain members of the small ex-pat community in his region of south-west France the more to be blamed for motives far from pure in mounting a campaign of rumour and invective against him? The religious fanatic, April Hayter, in particular, has a very personal reason for seeking Ingram’s downfall. It is she who unwittingly recruits a would-be murderess to punish him.

Chapter 1

   Reggie Hayter had lowered the window of his Xsara enough for Mme Montegut to think he could hear above the car radio everything she was telling him about the phlébite in her legs when something caused him to abandon all pretence of commiseration and stare over the stray wisps of her white hair at something in the the distance.
   ‘C’est bien drôle,’ he said in his grammatically respectable but unrepentently English-public-school-accented French.
   ‘Drôle, Monsieur ‘Ayter?’
   ‘A woman,’ he said. ‘There’s a woman –‘
   “A woman?’
   ‘Yes. There’s a woman.  At Monsieur Ingram’s.’
   ‘Ah, une femme de ménage.’
   Reggie Hayter changed the station to hear the météo, then waggled the gear lever to show her he meant to go.
    ‘Or someone for the jardinage, now the poor man has no help.’
    ‘Not that sort of woman.’  He shot the old paysanne a look that added something to the assertion, then added jocularly, ‘Of course, she could be a relative. – Bonne journée, Madame.’
   As a friend once remarked, Reggie Hayter had a one-track mind running mostly below his navel. Relative, my foot, he said to himself when he had cleared the village.  Ingram had had his arm around the woman.  The two of them were probably at it this minute, frotting, making the beast with two backs. Ingram could screw as he liked now, lucky bugger. Reggie felt a mixture of envy and contempt; then, glancing up the now empty road leading to Ingram's property as he passed it, he became aware of a peculiar satisfaction in his discovery of the woman, and he began with a kind of smouldering excitement to turn over in his mind a singular possibility arising from it.
     (To be continued)

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