Monday, August 31, 2015

The Scorpion is Back! And Peter Darley is Leaving it Up to Readers As To What Happens Next!




Dr. Frederick DeSouza gingerly entered a neon-lit laboratory, nervously passing the monitor screens. He stepped through a door at the far end in anticipation of what would be revealed within the next hour. It was a unique moment in his career as a neuro-biological scientist, a career that, hitherto, had come to an end. He’d amassed his fortune and had settled comfortably into a life of retirement. That was, until the day he received a visit from Andrew Wilmot, the director of an anti-terrorist, Homeland Security division known as SDT, asking him to come out of retirement. 
But what had been expected of him had been an astonishing demand. His specialist skill as a memory revisionist had never been called upon before to undo a revision. The irony struck him as he considered the particulars. Almost four years previously, he’d been asked by his late associate, Senator Garrison Treadwell, to revise the memories and personality of a particularly volatile warrior named Brandon Drake. It had been an operation to make the young soldier more manageable while maintaining his inherent skills, intellect, and extraordinary talents. However, the experiment led to the creation of a persona who had divided the American people. Drake became a hero; a selfless rescuer of the innocent— women and children alike— as he committed himself to thwarting corruption in government, and tyrants wherever he found them. He’d also leveled a media attack against Treadwell. Accompanied by his lover, Belinda Reese, a woman whose life he had saved during a terrorist attack instigated at Treadwell’s behest, Drake became a fugitive. He’d abandoned his post with the Eighty-Second Airborne Division, and chosen the path of a loner. 
Now, the world believed he was dead, blown to smithereens in a cataclysmic explosion. But it wasn’t so. He’d survived by virtue of incredibly sophisticated armor and hardware. Six weeks had passed since the explosion. DeSouza had been instructed to suppress all of Drake’s memories since his last revision, and restore him to his original persona— a malevolent combatant known as The Scorpion. Persistently, he questioned why Wilmot would have wanted him to do such a thing, but he didn’t voice it. Faith in the system, a touch of hubris, and, in a moment of honesty, his payment for services rendered, had silenced him. Nevertheless, a touch of guilt gnawed at him. He had no idea what he was about to awaken, and the thought of the possibilities chilled him.
~~~

RUN!
Hold On! Season 3

By Peter Darley

OMG! When evil powerful people are in control, they can create major... messes! Poor Brandon Drake has gone through hell and is now back there! Would it have been better to leave him as he once was--a psychopath? Perhaps, because he probably would have already been dead...

Instead, one man, a Senator, had taken Brandon and had his brain revisioned. It did change him for the better, even though the Senator's plan for him was quite different! But Brandon had seen what was going on and escaped and had full four years of being a kinder, gentler, and finally loving man...

“You’re going to be fine,” Wilmot assured him.
 “The nature of the operation has changed,
 but you’re still a part of it. You’ll need
 some time to get yourself back to full strength,
and then I have a few projects I’d like
you to work on for me.” “What projects?”
 “All in good time.”
Wilmot picked up the briefcase and made
 his way across to an adjacent desk.
After placing the case upon it, he unlocked
 the combination, and clicked it open.
 “This is just for starters.”
He opened it up to reveal neatly-arranged
 piles of crisp, new $ 100 bills.
“How does fifty thousand sound?”
~~~



With the Senator's death, one of his own men eliminated the interim director of the special department within CIA and automatically became director! He wanted the psychopath back...so he could work for him...never realizing that The Scorpion was uncontrollable...

Well, it is confirmed that my favorite of the Trilogy is Go!; however, Run is an entirely different type with an ending that uniquely carried through on the theme originally started in Season 1... Readers will have the opportunity to learn much more about Brandon's early life as well as his time in the military. Even the other soldiers were afraid of him, and his commander had taken an assault from him, without reporting it, because he considered him so valuable to the success of his unit...

The Scorpion felt he was invincible and in turn did just about anything he wanted!
As was his nature, Scorpion didn't want to wait and escaped from the Mohave facility, killing everybody, including the only person, the doctor, who could have helped him...

Wilmot paired him with another formidable man and sent them on their first mission--to kill Jed Crane who had escaped but knew about what had been going on. There was no choice Crane must die... He was living in a favela in Brazil (I saw this style of housing when I traveled to Rio...and immediately noticed the style of house that was built up the hills! Quite a unique circumstance where the poorer sections of the cities abide closely with major hotels and other buildings...)

And that's when the Interceptor returns! Readers will recall that when Brandon had been declared a hero, a comic had been developed, calling the hero Interceptor...looking, maybe, something like this...
closest I can get from the book's description, LOL!

You see, Wilmoth had not listened closely enough to the doctor who had returned Drake to a psychopath. That is, that the person he had become for four years would still be part of Drake's memories! And when he was sent to kill Crane and found, instead a woman with whom Crane lived, he had changed when she begged for her life! Interceptor took over and prevented his killing her!

After having to be dragged out of the hovel where they'd learned Crane was living, Drake wanted to know just exactly what had happened and why he had been struck down, unable to perform... At the same time, Crane was coming home when they were leaving and snapped pictures of Drake, who was believed to be dead!

Soon the two--the Scorpion and the Interceptor were in battle! Best I can think about it would be to have an individual with multiple personalities, in this case two, fighting against each other, rather than taking over and coming out when the other didn't know it. Whew! Just reading the rest of the story is an exciting battle like no other! 

In order to learn how to rid himself of the Interceptor, the Scorpion went home to start learning about what had happened...leaving his father beheaded once he told him all he knew...


Readers watch the trail of bodies as the Scorpion searches... How does he get rid of the Interceptor? Kill the object of The Interceptor's strong emotional feelings! Belinda Reese!

Belinda Reese and Emily, Brandon's sister, are now living with Tyler and his father... Tyler has hooked up with Nikki who we met in the last book... and Tyler is helping to promote her new career as a singer...by investing in the music business, about which he knows nothing! His idea?! Add a glockenspiel to her band! Actually, in this vid, they called it a vibra harp and my cousin used to play, calling it a marimba, so I'm not sure exactly which/what Tyler proposed, especially for today's music?! Wish I could hear it! Quite a number of songs are included, as written by Nikki, so this side-plot was a fun addition to this extremely violent final novel in the trilogy.

You might say that the ending of this finale book wrote itself...it was inevitable and yet so poignantly done that you, the reader, will be satisfied... Highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews



Hi, everyone. I'm Peter Darley (P.D. to my friends.) I am a British novelist, whose professional history is in showbusiness. I was a graduate of the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama, and studied television drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA.) My television credits include guest-starring roles in UK productions such as BBC’s Crime Limited, Stanley’s Dragon for ITV, The Bill, Sky One’s Dream Team, and numerous TV commercials. I also worked as a model, presenter, and voice-over artiste for ten years, and I've been an agent for several variety acts.

My lifelong admiration of heroes, and love of roller-coaster-style thrills have been a huge influence on my writings. I am also a professional close-up magician, a keen athlete and body builder, and I live with my wife in rural England.


But readers have a chance to turn this trilogy into a series... Meet B.J.


Hold On! _________________________________________ Tomorrow The year is 2042 Brandon Drake, Jr. has it all. He was raised with love. He had a family. A promising future. Everything his father never had. But something inside him tore at his soul. A force that cannot be stopped! A courage that will never die! Brandon Drake’s legacy rises to save an uncertain future.

The potential for our all new series! Cast your vote: 

http:// www.peterdarley.com/ contact.html

I'VE ALREADY VOTED! LET THIS AUTHOR KNOW 
HE'S CREATED SOMETHING THAT MUST CONTINUE!
AT LEAST THAT'S MY OPINION!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Uber-Hero Brandon Drake Tackles Human Trafficking Criminal Organization! Amazing Trilogy by Peter Darley!

Psst! Belinda may be
pregnant!
She dropped the last item into her case and sealed the clasps. Her heart pounded as she looked around the room she’d lived in for two years, and her stomach turned over with guilt. Her employer at Stark, Rogers, and Blake Insurance, along with all of her colleagues, would never know what had become of her. But as was her way, she hadn’t been close to any of them. She’d discovered, at the time she’d been taken on as the boss’s secretary that she could no longer relate to the banality of normalcy since Brandon. Everyday life seemed boring and uneventful. However, her colleagues were people with feelings and she was walking out on all of them without a word. They deserved better, and what she was doing attacked her conscience. 
But Brandon was her heart, her love, and her life. She picked up her case from the bed and made her way toward the door. After turning the handle, she paused for a moment and looked behind her to see her living room one last time. “I’m coming, Brandon. Hold on!” 
Hold On!— The words he had said to her as he’d rescued her for the first time, gliding her off the roof of a burning skyscraper after it had been taken over by terrorists. Or, at least, whom she’d believed at the time, were terrorists. Those two words had come to mean so much to her. They were a verbal exclamation mark with a very specific meaning: hope in a hopeless situation. After taking a deep breath, she stepped out of her apartment and closed the door behind her. 
Anxiety filled Belinda’s mind. She walked out onto the street, all the time fearing they would be looking for her in an attempt to locate Brandon. If they caught her before she reached him, they would interrogate her, even torture her to learn his location. Simply stepping outside immediately after his escape placed her in serious jeopardy. She wondered if the young man in the business suit who just walked past her was one of them. He’d glanced at her momentarily. It may have been simply because he found her attractive. 
She braved the pathway and made her way toward the Amtrak train station. There were several blocks to go, and the thought of the distance chilled her. So much could happen in the time it would take to get there. Paranoia consumed her in the open, and she persistently looked over her shoulder. 
A police car sped past her, its sirens blaring. She froze.
~~~


Go!
Hold On! Season 2


By Peter Darley

How I wish that my new uber-Hero was really alive and working to eliminate those in Human Trafficking...If you didn't read yesterday's review, please do so before you leave!

Human Trafficking has got to stop! And in Go! Brandon Drake makes a major effort toward just that! First, let me remind you about an article I wrote some time ago suggesting to authors that, with a trilogy or series, they provide a overview of what happened in the previous book.. This author did just that, so now we are picking up where the last book left off. Brandon is confined to Leavenworth!



Mike Johnson, a deeply distressed twenty-nine-year-old MOS 31E-grade army corrections specialist at Fort Leavenworth, pondered how he should respond to Agent Wilmot’s question. Sitting across him in one of the guardrooms, he didn’t want to seem biased. “Well, sir, I suppose I’d have to say he was a model prisoner. He did what he was told, he was popular with the other detainees, and a particularly good cook.”
 “A good cook?” 
“Yes, sir. That’s how he got assigned to kitchen duty.” 
“It’s also how he managed to break out, isn’t it?” 
“With all due respect, sir, I really don’t think that’s fair. We’ve analyzed his escape, and it’s become apparent he’d been working on this breakout since he arrived.”


~~~



He had been planning his escape from the first he was imprisoned and then, when he had received one special visitor, he discovered someone willing to help him escape...along with the wonderful news that the visitor was his brother! We met him briefly at the end of the previous book--a young sophisticated man who had been adopted by a billionaire and who had been searching for his brother, Tyler, and sister, Emily, who had been divided when the courts got involved in looking into their early homelife...

Of course, at that point, Brandon was not aware of his siblings, but as soon as he saw Tyler, who looked like Brandon, he accepted what he was being told! Even more reason to escape, besides getting back to his love, Belinda! 



Brandon succeeded in escaping, but was seen running and was shot... But Brandon wouldn't let anything stop Tyler from finding Belinda and bringing her back to the Cabin...

Which included Tyler "dressing up" as Brandon
and saving Belinda from the Feds! 

Which he succeeded in doing; however, neither of the brothers had realized just how bad Brandon was from the shot and he had not been able to take care of himself while Tyler was gone, even to build up the fireplace... He turned to Gin to help keep him going...


Once Tyler and Belinda made it back to the cabin, they found Brandon huddled in a blanket, nearly frozen... and delirious. They got him to his bed and Belinda immediately wrapped him with lots of covers while Tyler built a fire...




During his recuperation, they made plans to find exactly where Emily was. Emily had been a nun, having live in the Carmelite Convent since she was young... and had since been accepted into the Carmelite Life. After serving for quite some time and becoming a favored nun, she began to question
whether or not she made made a mistake taking her final vows...After much thought, she asked to be permitted to leave...and was refused..



Soooo, she escaped! There is an indication that the Church knew about Brandon's escape and that they had wanted to keep her safe inside the convent. However, from Emily's perspective, she felt that she had lost her faith if she could not be free to act on her own, making decisions for her
life...

They were right...Emily did not understand the ways of today's world...and soon was in the hands of a human trafficker! Can you image Emily being approached by a handsome man offering to help? And that's how she was on her way, depending on a beautiful man, the first she'd seen outside of the convent for years...

At the same time, Belinda was trying to convince Brandon to spend more time resting and healing and holding off going for Emily... But he quickly explained that he needed to bring his family together.


“Us?” she frowned, puzzled. “A lead on what?” 
“Not on what. On whom.” He looked her in the eye with a glow of hope in his own: a radiance that seemed to strengthen him against his debilitation. “We have a family. There is another Drake.” “Another Drake? Who?” 
“Tyler and I have a little sister. He found some information about her from the Hall of Records. Her name is Emily, and she’s in Nevada. Can you believe that?”
“You have a sister?” she said, intrigued. “Yeah. That’s what this is all about. Tyler helped me to get out of Leavenworth. Together, we’re gonna find Emily. We’re gonna put our family back together. Then he’s gonna help us to get out of America, and disappear forever somewhere, where we can just live our lives in peace.”

~~~

And Tyler had a plan...that would be very dangerous...he was going try to
buy Emily...using his real name and notorious reputation as the very rich sexy playboy that he was... First Stop was the Citadel..
I think this second book might be my favorite of the trilogy, but since I've already started reading the third, I'll withhold my final decision... Now there is no doubt about it, the best is yet to come as Brandon finds that inner demon to fight against the criminal traffickers and free his sister!





But then, something happened. The pain seemed to trigger off an all-consuming rage within Drake. His eyes rapidly took on a look of unbridled hatred, and became bloodshot. The scar on his forehead deepened, and Jed knew what was happening. He remembered the details of Brandon’s rampage during his trial at Fort Bragg. It made more sense after Brandon told him that his memory had been changed, and that he used to be a psychopath known as The Scorpion. But if there was ever a time Jed would have wished for it to happen— it was now.
“Get your hands off me, motherfucker!” Brandon growled with an animalistic snarl. He drove his elbow back into the man’s solar plexus, and threw him over his shoulder into the monitor screens. Three more attackers were upon him in an instant. One grasped his throat, but he snapped the man’s wrist just as quickly. As his assailant fell to the floor, writhing in pain, his right foot shot up to collide with the jaws of the other two, shattering their teeth with blinding speed.
~~~

What's that you're thinking? You've got to read this? Well, I totally agree because it's part of my favorites this year--The entire Trilogy I am sure!


GABixlerReviews




Peter Darley (P.D. to his friends) is a British novelist, whose professional history is in showbusiness. He is a graduate of the Birmingham School of Speech and Dramatic Art, and he studied television drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA.) His television credits include guest-starring roles is UK productions such as BBC's Crime Ltd, Stanley's Dragon for ITV, The Bill, and Sky One's Dream Team, and numerous TV commercials. He has also worked as a model, presenter, and voice-over artiste for ten years, and has acted as an agent for several variety acts.
His lifelong admiration of heroes, and love of roller-coaster-style thrills have been a huge influence on his writings.
He is a keen athlete and body builder, and lives with his girlfriend in rural England.
Peter loves to hear from his readers. You can contact him through his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PDAuthor  Or through the contact page on his website: www.peterdarley.com





Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Seduced: The Grooming of America's Teenagers - So You Think You Know What Gaming is All About?

STOP!
If you have children and they play video games... and you don't know what your children are learning about in those games...
then watch these trailers--just publicity vids for the games THAT WERE EASILY FOUND!--imagine what the real game includes!

I am angry, indignant, frustrated...but mostly angry...
I hope you will be too!

Look for review of 

























Grand Theft Auto is an action-adventure video game series created by David Jones and Mike Dailly;[3] the later titles of which were created by brothers Dan and Sam HouserLeslie Benzies and Aaron Garbut. It is primarily developed byRockstar North (formerly DMA Design), and published by Rockstar Games. The name of the series references the term used in the USA for motor vehicle theft.
Most games in the series are set in fictional locales modelled on American cities, usually either Liberty City, Vice City, or San Andreas, which are stand-ins for New York City, Miami, and the state of California, respectively. The first 2D titles encompassed three fictional cities, while 3D and HD titles tend to emphasise a single city and its outlying areas.Gameplay focuses on an open world where the player can choose missions to progress an overall story, as well as engaging in side activities, all consisting of action-adventuredrivingthird-person shooting, occasional role-playing,stealth, and racing elements. The series also has elements of the earlier beat 'em up games from the 16-bit era. The series has gained controversy for its adult nature and violent themes. The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game. The antagonists are commonly characters who have betrayed the protagonist or his organisation, or characters who have the most impact impeding the protagonist's progress.
Video game developer DMA Design began the series in 1997; as of 2014 it has eleven stand-alone games and fourexpansion packs. The third chronological title, Grand Theft Auto III, was widely acclaimed, as it brought the series to a 3D setting and more immersive experience, and is considered a landmark title that has subsequently influenced many other open world action games and led to the label "Grand Theft Auto clone" on similar games. Subsequent titles would follow and build upon the concept established in Grand Theft Auto III. Film and music veterans have voiced characters, including Ray LiottaBurt ReynoldsDennis HopperSamuel L. JacksonDebbie HarryPhil CollinsAxl Rose, and Peter Fonda.[4] The series has been critically acclaimed and commercially successful, having sold more than 150 million units, as of September 2013.[5]

Plot[edit]

After witnessing the heist of the Bank of Liberty (carried out by Niko Bellic and Packie McReary), Luis Fernando Lopez enters the loft of his employer, owner of successful clubs Maisonette 9 and Hercules "Gay" Tony Prince. Tony is in serious financial trouble, having taken out massive loans from the Ancelotti crime family and Mori Kibbutz in order to keep his clubs running. He asks Luis to work for Mori (later revealed to be Brucie Kibbutz's older brother) and Rocco Pelosi, an Ancelotti gangster, in order to satisfy his debts. Luis soon becomes acquainted with Yusuf Amir, an Emirati real estate developer who is interested in purchasing and franchising one of Tony's clubs, and Ray Bulgarin, a Russian crime lord he met in the club. Tony also plans to buy two million dollars worth of diamonds in order to sell them at a higher price, but members of The Lost Motorcycle Club, led by Johnny Klebitz, intervene the trading and steal them, resulting in the death of Tony's boyfriend Evan Moss. Luis manages to intercept a meeting to trade the diamonds and recovers them. Bulgarin soon reveals that the diamonds are his property, and believes that Luis and Tony colluded to steal them, marking them for death. Giovanni Ancelotti orders that the diamonds are to be used as a ransom payment for his daughter Gracie, who was kidnapped by Niko Bellic and Patrick McReary.
Rocco meets with Luis, and suggest that he should kill Tony in order to gain favour with Bulgarin, so that he will spare him. Though he contemplates doing so, Luis ultimately refuses and escapes Tony's club when Russian gangsters sent by Bulgarin assault it. Luis travels to Firefly Island to disrupt Bulgarin's drug operations and cut off his main cash flow, and learns that Bulgarin is fleeing the city by plane within two hours. With the help of Yusuf (who kills Bulgarin's henchmen attacking Luis) with his Buzzard attack chopper, Luis manages to board the plane, and kills all of the henchmen on board. A vengeful Bulgarin emerges from the cockpit holding a grenade, threatening destruction to both of them if Luis kills him. Luis takes the risk and shoots Bulgarin. A dying Bulgarin drops the grenade causing the front of the plane to explode. Luis parachutes out of the burning wreckage of the plane to safety, and heads to Meadows Park where Tony is waiting . Once there, they both decline Yusuf's intention to franchise the clubs, as they prefer to keep it a "family business".
In a small twist ending, the diamonds continually fought for are found by a homeless man in the trash.
Like The Lost and Damned, this story also intertwines with the main story of Grand Theft Auto IV. The first main part of the storyline that intertwines is the diamond deal. A cook aboard the ship Platypus finds the diamonds (as seen in the opening credits of Grand Theft Auto IV, and the deal between Tony and the cook is disrupted by the Lost motorcycle club, also shown in the Lost and Damned. The second deal at the Libertonian with Isaac is also shown in both DLCs, as well as Grand Theft Auto IV. The trading of the diamonds in exchange for Gracie also is in both Grand Theft Auto IV and the game, as well as the aftermath of the diamonds, which had fallen into a dump truck, seemingly finding their way into a trash can, later found by the homeless man. Yusef Amir is mentioned briefly by Playboy X in Grand Theft Auto IV during the mission in which Niko and he attempt to take back one of his construction sites. Gay Tony is also briefly mentioned by "French" Tom Rivas, who talks about his bankruptcy. The big heist of the Bank of Liberty also features both Niko and Luis.


Business Insider, UK

The new release of Grand Theft Auto V is out today, bringing the game to the next generation of consoles. Now running on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, players can enjoy the game in first-person mode, making it seem as if they're really inside the game. 
Needless to say, this will be controversial, and the company has likely deliberately created this aspect of the game in part because it knows it will generate headlines.
Prostitutes have controversially existed in Grand Theft Auto games for years, but in the past, players have had their view of sex acts obscured by car doors. Now, it all takes place in full view of the player, who can move the camera around to get a better view.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/27/grand-theft-auto-v-prostitutes-killed

NOTE THAT THE REVIEWS I FOUND CAME FROM UK NOT USA??? COINCIDENTAL?
IS AMERICA SO SATURATED WITH SEX THAT ANYTHING GOES NOW?
BE PREPARED FOR SHOCKS THAT MAY WISH YOU WERE'T PARENTS...


A SPECIAL NOTE TO READERS AT BOOK READERS HEAVEN:  
YES, I WOULD NORMALLY PUT THIS MATERIAL ON MY ADULT BLOG...
BUT I'VE NOTICED THAT MANY DO NOT CLICK OVER TO READ THOSE ARTICLES...
YET, RIGHT NOW, YOU MAY HAVE CHILDREN THAT ARE SEEING FAR WORSE
AND PARTICIPATING IN...
WORSE MATERIAL THAN I'VE EVER PUBLISHED!
WAKE UP AMERICANS!
CONTINUE TO SHOW THAT SELF-RIGHTEOUS SIDE TO THE WORLD.
WHILE YOUR CHILDREN ARE BEING 


SEDUCED!

THIS BOOK IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE I'VE EVER READ AND REVIEWED...

SO FAR...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Meet Harry Jenkins, Toronto Lawyer and Protagonist of The Osgood Trilogy Via Short Story by Mary E. Martin!








AN ACT OF            
KINDNESS


A Young Ben Matlock!

In his law practice, Harry Jenkins frequently visited the elderly and infirm in their homes. Occasionally, he attended upon the wealthy in their mansions. Today, he was visiting Miss Alicia Markley and her friend of many years, Sarah Carmichael. Affluence and infirmity were married in one appointment. 

The Rosedale Valley road was an isolated stretch winding through a deep ravine in the centre of Toronto. Dirty slush spattered his windshield, forcing him to slow down until the wipers had cleared his view. Opening his window to clear the mist, he heard the hollow boom of traffic on the span of concrete bridge above. Forests of branches, waving against the bleak winter sky, reminded him of wild spirits fleeing the night. He checked his watch. He was already late.

The two women shared a stone house wedged between the mansions of Binscarth Road in Rosedale. Alicia had called to say they wanted to open some sort of a business. Harry thought the inquiry unusual, since both of them were well in their sixties and financially well off. Known for their charm and devotion to charity, the ladies were paragons of social propriety. Smiling, he tried to visualize them, sleeves rolled up and embroiled in the daily mess of business affairs. But he knew torrents, raging beneath a calm exterior, could silently foment major upheavals. Solicitors usually touched only the surface of life and remained unaware of dark currents which often guided events.

He frowned in recollection. Last year, Sarah had suddenly taken to her bed after a funeral to remain there ever since. Perhaps she had miraculously recovered. Otherwise, a business venture did seem strange. Such enquiries were often idle notions created by bored minds. Harry sighed and struggled to maintain his optimism.

He slowed down to catch the turn into Rosedale. His bleak thoughts were mirrored by the dismal February afternoon. He had seen the ladies last year at the funeral of Ronald Hobbs, city councillor. His funeral was a sideshow, partially paid from the public purse. Half the city's police force had escorted the hearse and a long line of limousines. In an age of declared fiscal responsibility, Harry wondered at such profligacy, but nonetheless, the show had gone on. Since he was advising city council on various planning issues, Harry considered it politic to attend.

The funeral was held at the cavernous St. Bartholomew's Church on Sherbourne Street, south of Rosedale. The crush of media had attracted overflow crowds. Harry was relieved to squeeze into a pew near the front. When low chuckles rose from behind him, Harry winced. The press was at its post.

"Know where they found Hobbs?" someone behind Harry said. Harry half-turned in his seat.

"Floating in his swimming pool."

"Really?"

"Ya." Harry could hear the reporter cracking his gum in excitement.

"Pictures will be in tonight's paper."

"He drowned?"

"Looks like. But the real story is, he was stark naked. Floating ass-up in his pool!"

More chuckles followed.

"But get this!” the voice said. "Right at his indoor pool, near the cabana, they found champagne on ice and two glasses."

"Open?"

"What?"

"Was the champagne open?"

"I don't know."

More low chuckles followed.

"Wonder who the guest was?"

Hobbs’ reputation as a womanizer was legendary, but Harry wondered what city councillor could afford not only an indoor pool, but also a cabana.

Across the aisle, in the front pew, the Hobbs family sat in stony silence. The watch of the dead, thought Harry. Directly behind them, Alicia Markley and Sarah Carmichael were huddled. Sarah was crouched in the pew, sobbing steadily. With a penetrating glare, Mrs. Hobbs turned about at the sound of Sarah's sniffles. Alicia wound a consoling arm around her friend to no avail. Rarely had Harry witnessed such a public display of grief from someone unrelated. Sarah's sobs continued unabated as she rested her head against her friend's shoulder. Harry could only guess at the nature of a relationship which could bring on such sorrow. When the minister took the pulpit, Sarah's weeping had diminished and Harry breathed a sigh of relief. Alicia had gently brushed a damp strand of hair from Sarah's cheek.

Today, as Harry turned down into the quiet streets of Rosedale, black chunks of sludge flew up at his car. Across the park, the frozen trees looked like pen sketches against the grey patches of snow and sullen sky. In the dim light, he squinted to read the numbers on the houses on Binscarth Road. There was the Markley house, modest in size, but constructed entirely of stone. The long driveway had not been shovelled for weeks. Once the snow had drifted in sleek, sculpted patterns. Now it had shrunk into muddy patches. Careful to read the signs, Harry parked on the street. When he opened the gate of the stone fence, his spirits rose. The house was only a storey and a half, but lights glowed and welcomed him. He knocked. Within moments, Alicia Markley answered.

Catching his breath, Harry stepped back. Miss Markley was a tall woman. Her soft and slender form was silhouetted by the light. Harry had remembered her as sharp-edged and angular. Except when it came to Sarah, she was usually surly. On past occasions, she had seemed like a gawky child, whose features were not yet fully developed— a nose too big, a mouth too wide. Not at all gawky now, he thought. Her long floral-patterned skirt and silk blouse did not square with his memory of severe tweed suits and sensible shoes. Something had changed.

“Mr. Jenkins! How delightful to see you again.” She smiled graciously and drew him inward. Close in the narrow hall, she helped him remove his coat. After she had hung it in the closet, Harry followed her inward to the living room.

A log blazed in the fireplace and sherry glasses were set on a silver tray. The scene was one of comfort and pleasure. Setting his case beside the coffee table, he sank into a chair.

"How kind of you to come on such a dismal day, Mr. Jenkins." She beamed at him.

"Not at all. You have a very pleasant home." Harry relaxed in the quiet peace surrounding him.

"You'll have a sherry once we've discussed business?" The intensity of her request made him look up from his legal pad. He smiled and nodded. "Of course, I'd like that."

Her gaze was somewhat distracting. In the flickering light, her face had acquired the sharp angles he recollected. But when she smiled, warmth and softness radiated from her. He sat back.

"Mr. Jenkins, I have a business proposal to discuss with you."

"Certainly. What is it?" He picked up his pen.

"My friend Sarah and I have been considering opening an artist studio." She paused to study the heavy silver rings on her fingers.

Harry was surprised. "For yourselves?"

Alicia shook her head wearily and said, "No. Sarah's never been very creative. Too timid for her own good. However, we've shared a love of art throughout our lives." Alicia stopped, as if lost in recollection. Then she said, "In fact, we've shared a great deal together, Mr. Jenkins."

Harry had made only one note. 'Artist studio'. He looked up. "And?" he prompted.

"I'm very concerned about her. I think she needs a project to bring her back to life."

"She's been ill for some time?"

"She's lost her passion for life. She needs an interest to revive her." Alicia rose swiftly to the mantelpiece. Her motions reminded Harry of an awkward bird alighting a branch. "And so, I've decided," she said, fiddling with the clock, "we should open a studio where young artists can work." She took the sherry decanter from the coffee table and poured two glasses. She spilled several drops.

Harry waited as she dabbed at the tiny pool of liquid. "They'd pay a fee for the use of the space?" he asked.

"I suppose." Alicia shrugged. "Something like that." She handed Harry his glass. "The money's not important. I just want her back."

Harry reflected upon her words. "It's a charitable enterprise, which is good for tax purposes." He knew clients always liked to hear of tax savings. "You should incorporate the business as a non-profit company. So, anything you earn above expenses and your salaries, gets paid out tax free."

Alicia nodded absently. "Then do it, Mr. Jenkins. Please."

Harry knew he was missing something. Obviously she had no interest in detailed legal advice.

Alicia began to pace slowly about the coffee table. "You've heard of Ronald Hobbs?"

"Yes, the City Councillor who died last year."

Alicia nodded. "After his funeral, Sarah took to her bed and simply, for no physical reason, became an invalid."

Alicia's face grew pinched in thought. Suddenly she turned away from Harry and rushed to the foot of the stairs. She cocked her head and motioned him to remain silent. After a moment, she shook her head. "I thought I heard her upstairs. I did so hope she'd come down." She returned to stand behind his chair and rested her hand on his shoulder. He glanced up at her.

"Mr. Jenkins," she began quietly. With her closeness, Harry contemplated the loneliness of elderly spinsters. "I want to show you something, so you'll understand the problem."

She moved to the sideboard. Opening a drawer, she lifted out a heavy package wrapped up in brown paper. Carefully she untied the string and drew out two frames. In them were two photographs, which she handed to him.

Harry searched for his reading glasses. The room seemed to darken as he examined the first one, a photograph of a man in a business suit. Harry's mouth dropped open. He could think of no words. He handed the photograph back to her and said at last, "But why?"

With great precision, the head of the man in the photograph had been neatly clipped out and then crudely pasted at the bottom. No doubt, it was the City Councillor, Ronald Hobbs.

She handed him the second photograph. Again, Hobbs, dressed in a casual shirt had been beheaded. Again, his face was pasted at the bottom, this time, upside down.

"After the funeral," Alicia began quietly, "we returned to the house. Sarah was inconsolable. I took her upstairs and put her to bed." Alicia's voice was devoid of emotion as if she were reporting a distant and mildly curious event. "I went down stairs to make her some tea and when I got back, she was sitting up in bed snipping out the heads with a pair of nail scissors."

Alicia smoothed her skirt and then continued, "She had such a strange look on her face, Mr. Jenkins, and she hummed a little tune. She wasn't herself at all, you see."

Harry could picture the scene with clarity. "But who pasted them back in?" he asked.

Alicia shrugged as if the question were unimportant. "Oh, she did several days later."

Harry rose from his chair and went to the bay window. The significance of legal issues surrounding taxation of charitable corporations was paling. The snow had started. Huge soft flakes drifted down, swiftly covering the walk and muddy patches on the lawn. The world was coated in silence.

The story fascinated him. He could almost hear Sarah's singsong voice and see her vacant smile. Apparently normal minds could turn themselves inside out. He turned and spoke to Alicia. "So she took to her bed and never got up?"

Alicia nodded. "Perhaps I was wrong, but then I thought she must hear the truth about Mr. Hobbs."

"Which was?"

Alicia's voice became bitter. "He was a philanderer, Mr. Jenkins."

Harry almost smiled at the old-fashioned word. Surely everyone knew of Hobbs' exploits. He asked, "Sarah and he were lovers?"

"Yes. Sarah was less than faithful."

Harry was confused. "You mean he was unfaithful?"

Anger flashed in Alicia's eyes as she rushed on. "What could anyone expect? After all, he was a man."

Harry ignored the slight. "What did you tell her?" he asked.

Alicia sighed deeply. Her dark eyes bore into him. Harry sank into his chair. Her intensity compelled him to listen.

"I saw Mr. Hobbs with another woman. Not his wife." Alicia stiffened in her chair. "I thought Sarah should know."

Harry waited in silence. The room once warm and inviting was growing hot and oppressive. He was drawn to hear the story.

"You know the arcade downtown?" she began.

Harry knew it well. He nodded.

"One day, I was shopping there. Just picking up a few things."

Harry instantly pictured her marching through the narrow passages of shops in her severe tweed suit and heavy shoes.

"When I finished, I stopped for coffee at a table on the mews.

Harry visualize her, eyes darting suspiciously about nearby tables.

"While I was waiting, I looked inside through the glass." Alicia pursed her lips in distaste. "There he sat at a table with a woman."

Harry could well imagine Alicia's ill-disguised attempt at nonchalance.

Disgust mounted in Alicia's voice. "There was no mistaking him." She shook her head. "Leering over her with his hand on her knee." Alicia's face was suffused with anger. "She was a common slut!"

Harry was shocked. He could easily envision the groping city councillor and the woman, but he could not comprehend Alicia's mounting fury. White faced, she stood in front of the fire. Glaring, she pointed at him. "He was a licentious and immoral fraud, Mr. Jenkins!" Harry felt accused of aeons of male perfidy.

At last she continued. "When he saw me, he got the waiter, paid the bill and slunk out with his woman."

"He knew you?" Harry asked in surprise.

"We had met once or twice before," she said carefully. Then she added darkly, "I followed them, Mr. Jenkins."

So powerful was the story, Harry had the odd sensation of voyeurism. He saw poor Hobbs rushing from the cafe. His woman stumbled after him in her stiletto heels and tight skirt. He saw Alicia in her sensible shoes striding mercilessly after them. He saw them hurrying down tiled hallways surrounded by brass and marble. He heard the muted rush of the noontime crowds underneath the opaque skylight. In the distance, he saw the couple hand in hand, desperately seeking sanctuary in the twisting passages.

Harry closed his eyes and asked weakly, "Did you see anything more?"

Alicia shook her head. "No. They escaped."

Harry felt strangely frustrated at the inconclusiveness of the story.

"I had to tell her, Mr. Jenkins." Crouched in her chair, Alicia bit her lip.

"What was Sarah's reaction?"

"She said she wanted to die," said Alicia weakly. "She's said almost nothing since. Not even 'thank you' for all the nursing, bathing and meals I cook her." Alicia looked up helplessly. Her eyes were rimmed with red. "Was I wrong, Mr. Jenkins?" she asked.

Harry squirmed in the role of moral arbiter. He had no idea what to say. But he had an uncanny ability to picture scenes vividly. The images of Alicia, the avenging angel, and Sarah, the determined decapitator, were emblazoned on his memory.

At last Alicia spoke. "So, you see, I thought I might divert her with a project."

Harry was relieved to return to legal matters. "Then you want to proceed with the incorporation?" His pen was poised over his pad.

"First, I want you to talk to Sarah. Perhaps she'll listen to you." With determination, Alicia stood up. "Let's go upstairs, Mr. Jenkins."

Harry had no idea why the uncommunicative Sarah would want his advice. Alicia led the way up the stairs. The stairwell was lined with photographs of ancient relatives. Fortunately, he observed, all the heads were intact.

Sarah's bedroom was down the hall at the back of the house. A grey light seeped from her door which was slightly ajar. Harry's chest constricted. He hated unannounced bedside visits. No sound could be heard from within.

Suddenly, Harry became aware of a faint, yet foul odour. Alicia stepped inside the room and closed the door behind her. With bile rising in his throat, Harry hung back and stared at the ceiling.

"Darling?" said Alicia. There was no reply.

"Sarah, you must sit up and look at me," Harry heard Alicia say. There was rustling of curtains and a sigh, but Sarah had not yet replied. Alicia's voice grew insistent. "Mr. Jenkins is here. I want you to discuss our plan with him."

Harry stared at his shoes. The room was silent.

"If you won't co-operate," Alicia hissed, "there won't be any dinner for you!" Harry frowned. "Now sit up at once and stop this nonsense."

Harry could hear the mounting desperation in Alicia's voice. Suddenly, the door flew open. Alicia's gaunt form swayed in the doorway. Harry was almost knocked over by the stench emanating from the bedroom.

"Mr. Jenkins!" Alicia's face was white and strained. "Something is terribly wrong with Sarah!"

Harry stepped into the room. His eyes bounced wildly back and forth between the women. Sarah's head lolled awkwardly to one side of the pillow. Her unseeing eyes stared at the far wall.

Alicia clenched her hands and cried in desperation, "She refuses to speak to me after all I've done for her. She won't eat, although I've begged her." In her misery, she clutched at Harry's hands and dragged him toward the bed.

Harry could scarcely get his breath. At last he spoke, "Alicia, she's dead. She's been dead for days."

Alicia's expression was uncomprehending. "No, Mr. Jenkins!" Violently she shook her head. "That cannot be. I've given my life for her. She cannot die."

Staggered by the rancid air, Harry grasped Alicia's shoulders and marched her into the next bedroom. Immediately, he opened the window and took deep, greedy breaths of the cold night air. He was amazed to find the steady breeze fanned his anger.

He turned on her. "How in God's name could you not know she's been dead for days?"

He was prepared for anger, but not her sweet and patient smile. "That isn't true, Mr. Jenkins. Last night, we toasted our new venture with a glass of champagne and had a lovely chat before bedtime." She glanced down at her rings. "Granted, she hasn't eaten much today. I was going to bring her dinner after you'd gone."

Her smile of innocence and fond gaze made Harry understand. In that moment, he realized she was completely mad. Why had he been so slow to understand? He sat on the bed and gently took her hand. "We'll have to call for help, Alicia."

"Help?" she laughed. "I don't need any help. I'll start her dinner as soon as I've had a little rest." She slumped back on the pillow and shut her eyes.

Harry walked down the hall to the bathroom and shut the door. On the ledge above the sink sat two champagne glasses. Beside them were three bottles of pills. His head was beginning to throb. He gripped the sink. Then he saw the empty capsules strewn on the ledge. He straightened up. How easy, he thought, to give an overdose with champagne.

Wearily he returned to the bedroom. "Alicia," he said quietly. Her eyes flew open. "How many capsules did you give her?"

"Quite a few," Alicia replied. "She wanted to leave. So I let her. It was an act of kindness." A tiny sob escaped Alicia. "But, I miss her so."

If he tried hard, Harry could imagine the circumstances leading up to so called mercy killing. Had Sarah begged her friend to put an end to suffering? Had Sarah been driven to death by the unfaithfulness of men? Regardless, such an act of kindness was definitely against the law.

"She tortured me so," said Alicia angrily. "She never could decide between the two of us."

Harry turned sharply to face her. "What? Between whom?"

"Between me and that horrid man, Mr. Hobbs."

At last Harry understood. He remembered the champagne glasses beside Mr. Hobbs' cabana. Death with champagne.

"You were jealous of him?" Harry prodded. "You gave him the capsules with champagne." Despite his pity for the woman weeping before him, Harry felt his revulsion mount. Poor unsuspecting Hobbs. What a price for his dalliance.

"I devoted my life to her! What did I get in return?" Fury flashed in Alicia's eyes. "Nothing but heartache waiting for her to decide." She drew herself up. "No matter what I had to offer, she wanted him even in death." Pride rang in her voice. "But it was I who loved her enough to let her go."

Harry was saddened beyond further comprehension. He left her sitting on the bed. As he passed through the downstairs hallway to the kitchen, he marvelled at the normality of the scene. The fire still blazed and the sherry glasses sat on the coffee table. Not thirty minutes ago, he had sat by in the living room enjoying the company of a charming woman. In the kitchen he picked up the telephone and dialed the police.