Casualty of Court · cosy · interviews · mystery · The Fifth Wheel

Casualty of Court – Annie interviews Stefan

Annie’s work here is almost done.

Before she can submit her report to Detective Hugh Dunnitt she has one more candidate to interview.

Stefan Pereira is on his way to her office.

Was that perfume she dabbed on her wrists?

Really, Annie? I thought you were a professional.

She smirks.

Well, I wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction.


Aged 28, Stefan is the defendant in the upcoming trial.

After eight months on remand, he’s ready to tell his story. But I must warn you, he’s a ladies’ man. You’ve been warned.

A knock on the door. He’s here.

AS: Come in, Mr Pereira, please take a seat.

(Stefan enters, pulls out a chair and sits, a soft smile forms on his lips)

SP: Thank you, but please, call me Stefan. Mr Pereira is my father. (He tilts his head to one side)

AS: Of course. (Annie giggles. OMG she giggles! Then she coughs, and sits up, pushing her new glasses back in place with a well-manicured finger. What! Annie – new glasses and a manicure? This doesn’t bode well)

AS: Stefan, let’s get down to business (she glances down at her notebook as a red flush invades her cheeks)  You don’t seem to have a fixed career, do you? I see your longest employment has been as a car salesman, notwithstanding the short stint as a restaurant manager last summer? Was that the extent of your ambition?

Nice one, Annie. I take it all back – you are a professional. 

SP: I like cars, fast cars, expensive cars – selling them is not as dirty a job as fixing them. I don’t do dirty.

Annie squirms a little. Did he really say that? 

AS: You were a very successful salesman at one time, weren’t you? Enjoying many perks, yet you returned to living with your mother?

Annie, you’re on fire. 

(He is fidgety and unresponsive. Annie makes note.)

AS: I see you did some studying, too, yet you haven’t used those skills. Any reason for that?

SP: Not really. I’m biding my time.  (He brushes imaginary specks of dust from his lap)

AS: Any thoughts on joining your father’s business? He’s in commercial real estate, isn’t he? Quite the successful businessman too. Your selling skills could be most valuable.

(Stefan leans back, his lip curled as though repulsed by the idea)

SP: The idea has never entered my head.

Whoa! That told you, Annie.

AS: Okay then, where do you see yourself in five years, assuming you’re not jailed for the alleged assault?

(He blinks slowly, you might think he has fallen asleep the time it takes him to reopen his eyes)

SP:  I have plans. Big plans. But nothing I can – or want to – share with you.

AS: Does it involve art? As a child, I understand you were a talented artist? Do you still paint? Would you like to? There are workshops in prison. I could refer you …

Annie, you giveth and then you taketh away.

SP: That won’t be necessary. And, no, art is not part of my future. As I said, I have big plans that most definitely do not include being a penniless artist. That’s a fool’s game. I am no fool, Ms Skillsett.

AS: I see that. You’re a clever man, Stefan. If you are released, you have much to offer an employer, but I see you more as your own boss. Does that appeal?

(Stefan relaxes a little, nodding and smiling before leaning forward to answer)

SP: Indeed it does. But, no matter how many times you ask, or however you put the question, my plans are private. None of your business, Miss.

AS: Then there is very little point in us continuing, Mr Pereira.

(Stefan bristles at her renewed formality)

SP: I agree. (He stands and heads for the door)

AS: One more thing before you go.

(He turns, one hand on the door handle)

AS: It’s not about employment opportunities or anything like that, so feel free to ignore it. You’ve side-stepped most of my questions anyway. But, out of curiosity … did you try to kill Fern Mortimer?

Way to go, Annie, going for the jugular.

(He glares at Annie)

SP: I do not “try” to do anything, Ms Skillsett. Trying is for losers. Which I also do not do. (He pulls on the door and exits, leaving the door wide open as he struts down the hallway)

Back in her office, Annie suppresses a laugh and gets to work on her report.


Summary: Reluctant to talk about his relationship with his mother or father. No career plans – or at least, none he is willing to disclose. Clearly struggling to hide his emotions – he’s an angry, arrogant man. He doesn’t like it when his charm fails to hit the target. Or is he playing me too?  I don’t feel he is telling me anything about himself … Just in case I do what? Hugely mistrustful and paranoid – with an aversion to dust and dirt. (She laughs out loud, unable to contain her amusement any longer) Hopefully, the other interviewers will get more out of him. What a pillock!

Thank you, Annie. You’ve done a sterling job. You certainly had the better of him. Nice tactics, too, you had me fooled – for a while, anyway.

Next week, CeeCee Dedmann – psychic, clairvoyant and all-round hippy chick – gathers the characters around her crystal ball. Will they choose to revisit the past or take a glimpse at the future?

Thanks for reading 🙂

Casualty of Court is available to pre-order now as an ebook, releasing March 21st 2018. Click here to view on Amazon

In the meantime, you can read The Fifth Wheel – A Prequel now and find out what happened last summer.

writers · writing · writing craft

Reading a Stephen King book

Those who know me will be shocked by that title. I’m not a horror fan and have never (really) never read a book by Stephen King.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have any of his books – I do have one: On Writing.

Problem is, I can’t bring myself to read that either – I have Kingphobia …. Thing is, I don’t even have the print book – just the ebook version, so my reasoning gets weaker by the minute. Still, reviews like this take me a step closer. Maybe I’ll move it up the list a little; perhaps add it to my 2018 must-read list.

If you’ve read it, tell me what you thought of it. Is it as good as they say?

If you didn’t enjoy it / find it useful, please tell me … every excuse or bit of ammo will help 🙂

Something a little different today! Theresa review’s “Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” from the Master of Horror himself. (Genre: Non-Fiction/ Memoir)

via #Review: King on Writing by Stephen King @TBraun_Author #Writers #StephenKing #Memoir — Reads & Reels


Back to school: courses for authors

Worth checking out 🙂


After a short break, I’m back with news of several publishing courses now available for only $10.99 (down from as high as $200)! If, like me, you’ve attended any Udemy courses in the past, you will surely have heard of the New Year Resolution offer they’re currently running, lasting until the 11th. Dave Chesson (aka Kindlepreneur)…

via I’m Back With Several Courses For Publishing Authors — Nicholas C. Rossis

Casualty of Court · cosy · interviews · mystery · The Fifth Wheel

Casualty of Court – Annie interviews Nessa

Following her interviews with Fern and Raven, Annie turns her focus to Nessa Sullivan.

Aged 25, Nessa grew up and went to school with Raven in Framleigh. She was responsible for getting Fern to Portugal for that fated holiday. Although initially charged with aiding and abetting her boyfriend, Stefan, in the alleged assault on Fern, those charges were dropped due to lack of evidence against her. But she did make a statement that will be used in the trial.

Can Annie gain any insight into what makes Nessa tick? Let’s find out. Here comes Nessa. With her head bowed like that, she doesn’t look happy about being here. Either that or she’s avoiding someone.

AS: Thank you for coming, Miss Sullivan. I’ll be brief; I’m sure you have other things you’d rather be doing.

(Nessa gives a faint smile and nods)

AS: I see you didn’t return to your job as a payroll manager after your summer holiday. What was the reason for that?

NS: It wasn’t for me. I realised I wasn’t happy in that job.

AS: So, you have no plans to return to that profession? What do you intend to do … By way of career?

NS: The job at Hann & Merrie paid the bills, but I never felt fulfilled by it. I’m a home-maker, maybe I’ll go into home decor one day. But, first, I want a big family … with Stefan (Her eyes twinkle at the thought)

AS: You’re happy to give it all up to raise a family with the defendant?

NS: More than happy. It’s my dream to have a family, and children, lots of them, and to be a good parent. All with Stefan, of course.

AS: Is he of the same opinion? What if he goes to jail? What then? Who will be your support? What about friends?

(Nessa drops her gaze to her lap, where she fiddles with the hem of her tunic. When she looks up, despite tears in her eyes, her voice is steady) I’m sure he’ll be released; he did nothing wrong.

(AS makes notes : fails to comment on her fractured friendships – interesting – I’ll rephrase that)

AS: But, you have friends and family to support you if he is jailed. You’d return to Framleigh, I presume?

NS: Oh no! I have no intention of going. There’s nothing … and no-one there for me now. My former friends have deserted me. I can live with that – I don’t understand what I ever did for them to drop me like a stone, but I don’t need them in my life. No, my place is here now. I’ll wait for Stefan, no matter how long it takes.

AS: You seem very set on being a good mother. Is there a reason for that?

NS: I want my children to have the family environment that I never had.  I will be a good mother: caring, fair and truthful.

(AS writes furiously in her notebook: Has issues stemming from her own childhood.  Looks at parenting through rose-coloured glasses. Cannot comment on what her so-called partner wants either. All rather vague and wishy-washy.)

AS: Can you see yourself working part-time or from home?

NS: Maybe, once the children are at school.

(AS puts her thoughts on paper: has unrealistic ideas about the cost of raising a family, especially if alone. Despite once having a good career that demanded some skill and intelligence, she has lost her focus.)

AS: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

NS: With a family home filled with laughter and happy children. (She cannot contain a huge grin)

(AS scribbles down – Oh my Lord, she’s either Mary Poppins or a real-life version of the nursery rhyme “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe”)

AS: Thank you. I have all I need. Close the door on your way out, please.


Summary: This is a woman whose self-worth is tied up in her relationship. She is blinkered by the man and highly emotional. Seems to miss her friends but is angry with them for not seeing things from her viewpoint. Stefan and having a family with him is her be all and end all. I sense she would say anything to keep him out of jail, even if it involves lying. So much for being truthful!

Finally, Annie talks to Stefan. It promises to be interesting.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Casualty of Court is available to pre-order now as an ebook, releasing March 21st 2018. Click here to view on Amazon

In the meantime, you can read The Fifth Wheel – A Prequel now and find out what happened last summer.