When I first moved into the cottage ‘Briar Rose’, with its thatched roof and eyebrow latticed windows, the Icy on the cottage walls had run a little rampant, but I very quickly got it under control, and could see through the windows again. The Roses around the door I pruned and secured and the Wisteria on the back wall had almost reached the height of the roof, In fact, very little of the actual structure could be seen for its colourful garments. My cottage garden abounded with flowers of every colour and variety, a joy to behold.
Shortly after moving in, I had experienced some strange sensations. I describe them as
‘dreams’. I would be wide awake but suddenly see a scene develop in front of me.; like a moving mirage. I knew I could enter this scene if I wished, but had not really wanted to, but being a writer had taken full advantage of these mirages and had used them in several of my books, in fact, all of the latest books had been inspired in this way. Using this method along with my vivid imagination, a must for any author. I wrote prolifically and I had become very popular. I didn’t think about the next plot, it just came.
I adored the peace of the house and garden and found I could just get lost in my work for hours on end, not even noticing the time, until Walter, my old cat, who had seemed to come with the cottage, the day I moved in so did he, that he wanted some food please NOW!! AT these times I ate also, I often felt that if Walter didn’t insist on food, I would probably die of starvation, so absorbed did I get in my work.
I had had an old typewriter but with my success had come technology in the form of a Computer which my Publisher insisted upon. I have to admit , it was a lot easier., I could change and erase work without tearing out the sheet and throwing it away because of the mistakes. I didn’t have reams of paper everywhere, and it kept Walter off the finished article.
It was a strange thing about cats, they always wanted to ‘sit’ on the papers that were most needed to be kept clean, a kind of perversity, and Walter’s large Marmalade shape and dirty paws could make quite a impression on white paper, as I had often found to my cost.
One day as I was working, there was a sharp knock at the door. I actually jumped, I wasn’t expecting anyone, who could it be? I crossed the room and glanced through the latticed windows with their flowered chintz curtains, into the garden, I couldn’t see anyone, whoever it was was under the porch of the door.
Through the small bullseye pane of glass in the door, I saw a tall dark man, handsome in a rugged kind of way, with startlingly blue eyes, even from that distance I couldn’t help but notice their intense colour.
I opened the door and the man smiled at me, holding out his warrant card for me to peruse
.‘Miss Emilia Soames’ he queried in a soft voice with a lovely quality about it.
‘Yes’ I replied
‘I am Inspector Forsyth miss, and I would like to ask you a few questions, that is if you don’t mind’ he said, still smiling
I glanced at his identity, yes, he was who he said he was. I moved back from the door to allow him access and he followed me into the house. ‘Do have a seat Inspector’. I motioned him to a comfortable chair by the window.‘Would you like Tea or coffee?’
‘Tea would be nice miss, thank you’ he replied settling himself into the chair, to be immediately pounced upon by Walter, who curled up on his lap and started to purr. I had never seen Walter react like this to anyone before, he usually took a long time ‘looking’ and then retired either outside or to his bed, or rather my bed which was his favourite place.
I carried the Tea through on a tray with Milk Jug, sugar basin and some of the lovely biscuits the Baker always brought.
That was something I loved about the village, everything was delivered to your door, vans arrived carrying a myriad of foods, the Butcher, the Baker, the General Dealer, the Fish man, I didn’t need to go shopping at all, which was a boon when I was writing.
When I had poured the Inspector’s tea. I said ‘Now, Inspector, what is it I can hekp you with?’
‘Well, actually Miss Soames, it’s about your books’ he started. An autograph hunter, I thought my heart sinking. As if he had read my mind he said ‘I am not an Autograph hunter or anything like that miss,, I wouldn’t bother you for something like that at all. It’s just that, well, really to tell you the truth, I am fascinated. You see , my wife reads all your books and sometimes related the storyline to me,and I happened to notice, that especially in the more recent ones, they bear and uncanny and extremely strong resemblance in fact, I would go as far as to say, in some ways identical circumstances to some of my cases. Only you couldn’t possibly know about my cases, could you?’ this last he said almost accusingly.
I just looked at him, what was he saying? What did he mean? I could only stare at him, I had no idea what he was talking about.
’I’m sorry Inspector, I don’t understand’ was all I could manage to get out.
The Inspector looked at me appraisingly ’ No, I don’t think you do understand, he said smiling at me.‘Well miss, take “the Case of Intrusion” your last but one book, It described in great detail, all the facts of a case I was working on at the time. Only your book solved the murder before I did, or at least it did according to the Publisher’s date inside the book’ he stopped for breath and watched for my reaction.
I was speechless. Getting over my initial shock I said ‘Inspector I’m baffled, tell me more’
‘Well miss’ the Inspector began
I interrupted him ’ Please call me Emilia, Miss sounds too formal, I feel I am a suspect or something’
‘Right Emilia, it is, Well, once could be classed as a coincidence, but then my wife outlined another book of yours and I recognized another case, and then another. I started looking at the dates published and all corresponded with almost the same time as the crimes. Then I wondered was someone copying your crimes in real life,but taking into consideration the publishing time and distribution, they couldn’t have got hold of a copy to copycat. Do you get my drift mi…. Emilia?’
I did get his drift, how very strange, but then I more than most know there are stranger things in heaven and earth than anyone could possibly know about.