Newsletter 153

Evening all, as George Dixon used to say. If that makes no sense, ask your granny. All I’ll say about events in the UK today today is to quote Mr Cochrane. Verbatim. “They’ve made their bed and now they must let sleeping dogs lie in it.”


Best Corpse for the Job  is going to be on special offer on Amazon and Kobo one day next week. Not allowed to say which but somewhere in the middle. Keep your eyes peeled for news at my Facebook or twitter.


I have an awful confession to make. I cannibalize old stories, ones that have never seen the light of day, to use in new ones. I’ve just ripped apart a story involving an internet scam and werewolves (yeah, that’s what I thought—potentially a load of old overwritten tripe) to make a possible weresloth story. And I’ve taken the best scenes to put into the next Lindenshaw tale, where they actually work. Anybody else do that?

Anyhoo, there’s a bit in Home Fires Burning  in which someone relates a dream where he meets the Archangel Raphael. That came from an unused Jonty Stewart AU snippet, which I reproduce here for the first time:

Guardian Angel
A Cambridge Fellows AU story

“Doctor Stewart!”
Jonty reflected how ironic it was that the Archangel Raphael had a voice so resembling that possessed by the Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University. Perhaps it was mere coincidence—the tone of absolute but merciful authority making them sound so alike—or maybe the heavenly being had allowed his accent to be replicated for those humans he most favoured. “Yes, Raphael?”
At least Jonty was allowed to use the angelic being’s name; he had never referred to the leader of the University as Claude. At least not to his face and never when sober.
“Please be seated. I believe that we need to have some conversation.”
“Yes, Raphael.” Jonty’s heart sank; he sat down and folded his wings around himself demurely. His countenance, seen reflected not in a glass darkly but in the shining metal ceremonial shield by Raphael’s desk, bore the look of extreme innocence that he’d cultivated over the years and which had graced Bride’s chapel at many an evensong before the war. His body may have been made anew but his face was undoubtedly the strikingly beautiful one (or so both his mother and Orlando described it) he had worn for thirty odd years on earth.
“And that expression may fool old ladies and maidens but it cuts no ice with me.” Raphael looked stern, but then let his face met into a smile, his own countenance outshining even Jonty’s in its magnificence. “Jonty. Dear Jonty. I don’t want to be hard on you. That’s not my role. I just wanted to make sure that you understood the nature of your brief.”
“I do. It’s to look after Dr Coppersmith until such time as my services are no longer required and we are given our new commission together.” Jonty finished his recital and smiled contentedly. It wasn’t such a hard task to be given.
“And do you feel that you have discharged this responsibility properly?”
“I think so.” Jonty prepared to defend himself. “I did nudge him out of the way of that bayonet at Ypres. Made it go straight into a tree so it couldn’t harm anyone. And there was that runaway carriage I guided into a hay cart. No bones broken all round.”
“And the incident with the ice cream cone? Perhaps you thought I hadn’t noticed that one ?”
Jonty suddenly stiffened, caught out in his guilt. “Ah. Well. You see, that was really just a little token of our past together; it was just the sort of thing I might have done, giving a little push so his poor conk ended up covered in cream or jam or some other delicacy. I did wonder whether he thought I might be behind it in some way—Orlando’s not clumsy as a rule.” He sighed ruefully at the remembrance of happy times passed together.
“That might just have been acceptable as there was not even injury sustained to his pride, there being no witnesses. But what about the episode with the young lady? The one you made run away crying as if she’d seen a ghost?” Raphael tried to appear stern but could only manage avuncular. He wasn’t adopting his true Old Testament guise, a persona he was said to find rather wearing to keep up. “Or as if she’d seen another sort of heavenly figure—like an avenging angel?”
“Ah. Again.” Jonty had an inspiration. “My brief is to protect Orlando and that’s what I was doing. That minx had such designs upon him, she needed to be sent off with a flea in her ear.”
“Jonty,” Raphael’s voice had sunk to almost a whisper, “don’t you want him to have the chance of happiness again?”
Jonty sighed deeply, his eyes welling with beatific tears. He was silent for a long moment. “Of course I do, it’s what I want above all things. But with the right person, not some pouting and prancing filly who only wants him for his name or money.” He looked up, facing his superior angelic being without fear. “That’s what she was after. She didn’t truly love him—I know because I consulted the angel who keeps an eye on her. We were both in accord that the whole thing was a bad idea.”
“And if the right woman did come along? What would you do then?”
“Then I’d see the job through, I promise. Although, I’m not sure there ever could be the right woman for Orlando. Perhaps some nice chap, with plenty of patience and kindness, who could hang around uncomplainingly for long enough to let the idiot realise that he was being wooed and wooed well.” Jonty sighed again. “It would take an awful lot for him to love again, you know.”
“I do indeed, but the question needed to be asked.”
“As you’ve told me many a time, it’s not about what I like or dislike. It’s about doing the right thing. Thereby lies greatness. Isn’t that correct?”
Raphael stood up, flexing his magnificent wings, then leant over and clapped Jonty’s shoulder. “It is; we’ll make an angel of you yet. Then you can teach him when the time’s right.”

And finally…
Have some gorgeous Jersey scenery. Oddly enough, the Channel Islands are part of the British Isles but have never been in the EU.


3 thoughts on “Newsletter 153”

  1. Orlando loving someone else? *Sharp intake of breath* Never!

    Nice little story. Chuckled at Jonty’s ‘protecting’ methods.

    Is there a sequel of Orlando’s Angel training?

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