I was working on a third and final installment of my Posh Blokes with Guns trilogy of novellas. However, it grew into a full fledged novel with the provisional title of The Judas Coin which I hope to complete by February 2015. So I’m up a novel and down a novella. Some you win, some you lose. When the novel’s finished I will start work on the third part of the trilogy, the first two parts are here:
Small-time racketeer Phillip Grainger needs to find a murderer. And if he doesn’t do it soon he risks being drawn into a deadly struggle which he might not survive.
The war has just ended and Soho teems with life. People of every conceivable shape, size, colour and profession jostle for position among the bomb-sites. Crooks, lawyers, traders and deserters, prostitutes and artists swarm in the narrow streets. Rationing, shortages and a police force depleted by war, have created the perfect breeding ground for crime. Rival gangs wage an increasingly vicious war for control of the lucrative black market. Grainger has to decide which side he is on and discover if he has the courage to save a friend, and his soul.
He stood quite stationary, then a tremble ran through him and almost in slow motion he pitched sideways into the narrow passage. He lay among the puddles and rubbish, twitching. Then there was a final shudder and a narrow stream of blood ran onto the cobbles and was washed away in the rain. Chambliss lit a cigarette and surveyed the body. Stunned by the sudden ferocity of the attack, I gazed down at the corpse. I felt Chambliss’ mouth close to my ear and his hot breath on my cheek. ‘No time for sightseeing, old sport.’
It’s autumn 1920. When Walter Davies, a lowly Treasury official, sets off to attend a League of Nations conference in Brussels he anticipates nothing more exacting than a round of dull sessions in dusty meeting rooms and draughty corridors. What he least expects is to be caught up in a murderous plot to destabilise the British Mandate in Mesopotamia. But as he discovers, another, far deadlier, game is afoot.
Short-sighted and wielding nothing deadlier than an umbrella, Davies is drawn into a taut, helter-skelter ride which takes him from the ruins and squalor of a war-ravaged France to the seedy backstreets of Brussels.
Under Arras is a gripping thriller set in an almost forgotten episode of European history with a cast that includes T. E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell and, of course, a beautiful girl.