A Loss of Identity – Terence Brand
2700 words General / Mystery
A worried airman makes a confession to Newton. He has lost his RAF Identity Card, known as a ‘1250’. It turns out he is not alone. Joining in the investigation, Halliday falls foul of the people who are stealing the cards which could gain saboteurs access to British service establishments.
This story is included in the collection On the Changi Beat – 1961-1962
I was chuckling over an advert for a magic potion in Singapore’s Straits Times —“Are you Listless; Do You Suffer from the Early Morning Blues”— when, for the first time in days, Flight Sergeant Ellison came into the office. Despite his rest, Chiefy still looked decidedly pasty-faced. I vacated his desk but left the paper. ‘Morning, Chief. How are your kidneys?’ I pointed to the advert. ‘You should try a spot of Wang’s Elixir.’ Chiefy pulled a face as he sat in his chair. ‘All right, Newton, one sarky remark, but only one, yes?’
A Sticky Situation – Tina K Burton
2000 words Mystery
Chard and Jones are called in to investigate a rather sticky situation.
Harry Boggle – who’d worked in a jam-making factory – came to a very sticky end, quite literally, when he was found dead in a vat of strawberry conserve. Miss Hawe found him. She screamed when she saw a pair of legs sticking out of the top of the vat, and everyone knew it was Harry because he always wore a different colour sock on each foot. The question now was, did he fall in, or was he pushed?
A Word in Your Ear – Sharon McGregor
1400 words Mystery / Humour
Lettie’s bird watching turns up a lot more than sparrows and owls. She discovers a little too late that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
Lettie Moore clung to the cast-iron post at the base of her steps, for a moment, to catch her breath before mounting the five steps leading up to her veranda. It wasn’t a long walk from the store, but her bags were heavy and her arthritis was bothering her today. Then too, she wasn’t getting any younger. She stopped again at the top to set down her packages and grab the contents of the old mailbox, before crossing the veranda to the coolness of her house.
Avril Lane – Tyler Wills
A student of journalism has to complete an assignment. The only couple willing to give their time, present much more than the offered scoop; something which will challenge the student’s mind, and pose a question, forever.
It was very clear to Avril Lane, I was pretty naïve. She felt comfortable with me because of it, at ease, and thinking about it now, I think that’s why she opened up to me. I’d just turned seventeen, with so much to learn, and such a long time ahead to achieve it. But I had ambition early on. “Do you want a scoop? All journalists hunger for a scoop these days it seems.” “If you have one, but my assignment is more—” “General? On old people’s points of view, on all our difficulties – no doubt, it’s been done to death already, hasn’t it?”
Ben and the Bronze Spear – Anita Louise Jay
1250 word Mystery
One morning in his run across the Valley of a Thousand Hills, Ben finds an old bronze spear. Later he has a mysterious meeting with the rightful owner of the spear.
Ben stood frowning, gazing miserably out of his bedroom window. The rain poured from a leaden sky and ran in silver rivers down the window glass. He turned away, threw himself onto his bed and picked up the book he had been reading. He was feeling frustrated and powerless. The following evening, he set off eagerly on his usual run across the Valley of a Thousand Hills. The heavy rains that had prevented him from training the previous three days had at last dissipated.
Corporal Reggasammi’s Dilemma – Terence Brand
2200 words General / Mystery
Sammi asks for Newton’s help to extract his sister from the machinations of a Singapore gang. The gang is using Sammi’s naïve sibling, Aisha, to filch money and materials from RAF Changi, the Royal Air Force’s largest station in Singapore. It is Newton’s first encounter with Chan, the gang’s boss.
This story is included in the collection On the Changi Beat – 1961-1962
Mr Newton? Can you spare me an ever so short minute?’ I turned from the shelf of Registry files I had been searching. ‘Of course, Sammy – I can spare you as many short minutes as you desire. What’s the problem?’ Corporal Reggasammi peered up at me from his desk, his eyes huge behind the thick lenses of his glasses. ‘I am so very worried about my sister, sahib. She has got in with a fast crowd – a very fast crowd.’ ‘I’m sorry to hear that, Sammy.’ I gazed down at him. ‘But I’m not sure how I can help –’
Crack in the Desert – Anita Louise Jay
950 words Mystery Story
A huge crack appears in the Mexican desert one morning. Whatever happened to Pablo that same morning? Nobody can discover the answer to the mystery.
The crack appeared in the Mexican desert overnight. Nobody could elaborate on the reason for its miraculous manifestation. It measured over two kilometres in length. In places it was as wide as a six-lane highway. Pablo, driving from his home village to Mexico City with a load of chillies, pulled his truck to a swerving halt only a couple of car lengths from the lip of the crack. He had been driving East for almost an hour, and had been lulled into a hypnotic state by the glare of the rising sun through his windshield.
Déjà Vu – Sharon McGregor
1450 words Humour / Mystery
Summer life at the Lake brings a few twists when Maggie and Peter get new neighbours. Did he or didn’t he? Did she or didn’t she? Non-intervention seems to be the safest route.
Maggie set the last of the plates in the rack to drain. As she looked out the kitchen window she could see Robert and Barbara Howe in the garden next door start to circle each other in the nightly ritual that preceded all out war. Soon their raised voices were screaming across the narrow yard. “There they go again.” she sighed, drying her hands on the tea towel and draping it over the dishes. “I can hear,” growled her husband Peter pouring a large glass of wine… “Time to turn on the TV. Maybe we can drown them out.”
Eng’s Missing Minx – Terence Brand
2500 words Mystery
Changi Village’s garage owner, Eng Seng, has lost his newest car. The Tech Wing airman who hired it has also gone missing. Newton and Halliday find the car upside down in a Singapore ditch. But where is the driver? The intrepid airmen risk fire and brimstone to find out.
This story is included in the collection On the Changi Beat – 1961-1962
I answered the phone in my customary manner. ‘Morning. Tech Wing Discip – how can I help?’ ‘Hello? Mr Newton?’ ‘Speaking.’ No one on Changi’s RAF camp would address a Senior Aircraftsman as Mister. I asked suspiciously, ‘Who is that?’ ‘This is Eng Seng, Mr Newton – from the garage in Changi Village.’ ‘Oh – is it, indeed?’ Silence at the other end; had my tone offended? Quickly, I added, ‘Morning, Eng. This is a pleasant surprise – what can I do for you?’ ‘I’ve lost my new car, Mr Newton. The 1961 Hillman Minx.’
Fancy – Judith Bruton
2000 words Mystery
Every town has its secrets, especially seaside towns set along a wild southern Australian coastline. Alice and Matt encounter more than Irish ancestral links and larrikins in the local pub; encounters that change their lives forever.
‘It’s only a barrel, mate,’ slurred the scruffy young man, through missing front teeth. Unperturbed, Matt continued to focus his phone camera on the hotel wall of memorabilia, taking several close-ups of the wine barrel and some of the surrounding sepia prints of pioneer families. The larrikin winked at Alice as he again tried to provoke Matt in an even louder voice. ‘It’s just a friggin’ barrel, mate.’ Alice sipped her portagaf, screwed up her face and added a dash more lemonade to the stout mix. The unsavoury character appeared to be the only customer in the saloon besides them, but he made noise enough for several others with his taunts.
Footprints – Susan Howe
4500 words Mystery
Who can you turn to when the law is on the wrong side?
I haven’t done this for a long time. Not since Ma died. She got upset so I promised not to do it again, but she’s gone now. What she can’t see won’t hurt her and I’ll be really careful. This time no one will know except me. I’ve been watching the house from my room across the road. I’ve seen them come and go, the tall girl with bouncy red curls like shiny new chestnuts, the smaller one with long golden hair and a coat that almost touches the ground and the tiny little guy who looks like one of Ma’s garden gnomes, but without the fishing rod.
Free Literature – Matt McGee
6000 word Mystery
We all know there’s a recession on, and finding a book in the middle of the road might seem like a gift from the heavens. But what happens when the police show up at your door, and it turns out that book has a history you’d rather not be a part of?
It was January 3rd, I’m absolutely sure of that. I know because my insincere New Year’s resolution had been to exercise more, or differently anyway. You can only run the trails in the hills around the city so many times before you start naming rocks and bushes for the times you’ve fallen into them or used them as marking posts to find your way back to your car. Now the trails were muddy with the rainy season, and on January 2nd I signed up with Yoga Works. Early the next morning I was flying down Lindero Canyon Road in my 350zx toward the studio.
Fuel for Thought – Terence Brand
2000 words Mystery
Newton is told that valuable high octane fuel is being stolen from installations on RAF Changi and beyond. He and Halliday call on Chan, believing the local gang boss to be a likely suspect. Their visit stimulates an explosive situation.
‘Hello, Jock – you’re straying, aren’t you? What brings you to Tech Wing Discip?’ Junior Technician Jock McDougal hovered in the doorway. ‘I have “strayed”, as you put it, from my office in Aircraft Servicing Flight for a very good reason, Newton.’ The slim, grey-haired Scot continued to survey me thoughtfully; Jock was a great one for choosing his words carefully. ‘Do tell,’ I said patiently. ‘Aye, I will. I believe that our fuel pump has been tampered with.’ ‘In what way, tampered with?’ ‘Several gallons of fuel have been taken.’ ‘Several gallons more than the loss through normal filching, you mean?’
Hollywood Jungle – Terence Brand
5100 word Mystery
Halliday joins Newton on a trip to Frazer’s Hill in up-country Malaya, the venue for a jungle survival course. On the sleeper to Kuala Lumpur, Halliday overhears a plot to ambush a member of Frazer’s Hill’s staff. He and Newton seek a way to unmask the potential offender.
I blew cigarette smoke at the NAAFI’s ceiling. ‘I’ve been lumbered.’ Halliday laughed. ‘So what’s new?’ ‘What’s new is Chiefy has volunteered me for a jungle survival course.’ ‘Frazer’s Hill? Where the MO sent him a couple of months ago?’ ‘Yes. I extracted the Michael once too often – I’m away upcountry on Sunday week. It seems there aren’t enough keen types signing up so Chiefy put me down for a basinful.’ Halliday looked thoughtful. ‘Book a place for me, Zack. My Chief has been getting a bit jumpy lately – be good to be out of his sight for a couple of weeks.’
Hunted – Fay Wentworth
3475 words Mystery
When Kitty travels to the Greek island of Skopelos to write a travel feature, she is intimidated by the attentions of Grigoris, a local man.Her visit takes a disturbing turn as past and present collide.
She hesitated on the track, dust rising around her shoes as she looked ahead. He stood motionless, as dark as the tree trunk separated from him by a shard of light; only his eyes moved, slowly, as he watched her. She felt the fear rise in her throat and her heart quickened. It was a lonely road, winding slowly upwards through the Greek pine forests, but she knew the island was safe to roam – or so she had been told.
In his Wake – Elke Nagy
5000 word Mystery
Mildred travels from Sydney to tropical north Australia with her beloved cat, Sebastian in tow, to investigate the puzzling death of her old friend, Bert.
Mildred strokes the charcoal tabby, her fingers rifling through silky fur as they cuddle in an armchair by a fire in the darkened room, the flames imparting a flickering glow to a row of sea shells on the mantelpiece. The telephone rings and cat’s eyes slide open, revealing twin citrine orbs. Mildred picks up the receiver. “Hello?” A woman cries, “Bert’s gone.” “What? Who’s this?” “Lucy. Bert’s friend.” Bert was on a visit to Australia from England. He had been staying with Lucy in the north of Queensland and had next planned to stay with Mildred in her yellow sandstone cottage in Sydney beside the harbour bridge. “Gone? Gone how?” Mildred asks. “His leg’s been found on the bank of the Daintree river. The police say he was killed by a crocodile.” “Are they sure it’s Bert’s leg?”
In the Name of the Law – Violet Apted
1625 words Mystery / Crime
Helen Long finds herself number one suspect in a murder case and in the hands of a sadistic police sergeant, who seems determined to prove her guilty by fair means or foul! Her fear and confusion intensifies when she is ‘reluctantly’ released and realises suspicion is now falling onto her sister Rose.
Helen and Rose know the killer and fear for their lives, Rose’s drug addiction makes it seem a hopeless task unless they find someone they can trust to prove their innocence.
Sarah Long shivered, as she tried to grasp what was happening to her. She had been kept waiting in the interview room at the police station, for what seemed like hours. Now this detective was firing questions at her and accusing her of what? What did they think she was guilty of? Close to tears she tried to answer the questions, but did not understand why this man was using such bullying tactics and not even listening to her replies. Sarah could see he was shaking in anger and as he drew closer to her she jumped back away from him terrified.
Jogger – Paul Warnes
2500 words General Fiction / Mystery
She jogs in full make up trailing perfume. A man is captivated but the woman has her own agenda. What is his?
The woman was running towards me. She ran effortlessly with the lightness of an experienced jogger. I veered over to the kerb side of the pavement and carried on walking. She had all the right kit – black lycra bottoms, gloves, beanie hat. It was a cold morning and her breath rose in clouds like steam from a classic locomotive. I glanced at her face as she passed and was surprised to see that she was immaculately made up. There was a gash of red lipstick, a hint of blusher. But the thing that struck me the most was her perfume – they say that smell is the most evocative sense don’t they.
Lingering Aromas – Linda Louisa Dell
1200 word Mystery
Linda’s staying with Tony prior to going abroad to University; but he never noticed the evocative, unfamiliar and unexplained drifting smells, the items that moved independently, particularly in the kitchen.
I felt a shiver go down my spine and the small hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as I entered the kitchen. I quickly backed out and went into the living room. “What’s that smell? I said, as I walked through the door. “What smell?” Tony replied. “I can smell violets and there’s another smell, like tobacco. It reminds me of my old granddad.”
Marie’s Necklace – Annette Siketa
5200 words Historical Mystery
Teresa is neither psychic nor a thief, so why is she being haunted by a dead Queen?
This story is available in the collection Came as ‘Me’ Left as ‘We’
The audacious weekend theft made headlines around the world – ‘Priceless Marie Antoinette Necklace Stolen’. On Monday morning, the newspaper office was still buzzing when Teresa Piccolo arrived at work. Ordinarily cheerful and fresh faced, her uncharacteristic gaunt and dishevelled appearance might have been mistaken for the flu. A veteran newspaper man, Editor Harold Bartlet, was still doggedly pursuing the story, when he saw Teresa approaching his office. Her lifeless eyes and trance-like state, were enough to tell him that something was terribly wrong. He opened the door and beckoned her inside.
Morfydd and the Mountain – Karenne Griffin
3500 words Mystery
Morfydd is dozing in the sun on a mountain in Wales. When she wakes she finds her life has been turned upside down.
Dozing, I was, vaguely aware of the springy, spiky heather beneath my body. The summer sunshine soothed my weary bones. I heard the dog panting through the undergrowth before it stuck its damp nose into my face. My hands went up as my eyes opened reluctantly. ‘Duw!’ I groaned, fending off its muzzle. ‘A sloppy kisser you are, dog.’ ‘Jackson, where are you?’ called a woman’s voice some distance off. I sat up. ‘Jackson, are you?’ The black labrador met my gaze with quizzical brown eyes so I smoothed his head. He barked, and the woman appeared, striding through the heather. Her clothes were strange, hardly those a woman would normally wear.
My Father’s Bullets – Daniel Davis
10500 words Mystery / Literary Fiction
Mitch has just discovered that his recently-deceased father was, in fact, a contract killer. As Mitch begins to assemble the pieces of his father’s life, he must cope with his own identity, his father’s identity, and a strange man who seems to be following him…
My father was a contract killer for twelve years of his life. Sometime between retiring from the Army, and writing investigative pieces for Canadian wildlife journals, he traveled the world assassinating people. He only took two or three jobs a year; I remember him being home during my childhood, keeping up the house while Mom worked at the shop she owned. When I asked my father what he did for a living, he would reply that he did “security work,” and that occasionally he had to go overseas. Hong Kong. Havana. Cairo. I was too young and too politically naïve to ever connect his travels with the subsequent assassinations; the people he killed were usually too low-key to make the American press anyways.
No Data – Jim Celer
6500 words Mystery
Cynical yet sensitive, he finds that conveniences, while convenient, can also serve to separate. He fights back — but what is he fighting? Whatever it is, it’s getting closer and closer, tighter and tighter.
I’m two steps out the door and the phone rings, and I decide to go back for it, but whoever it was hung up. There’s no message. The caller ID says “No Data”. It could have been from some distant place, or it could have been a solicitor — some of them show up that way – “No Data”. It is aggravating, a waste of time and resource, utterly pointless – one of those things that is done only because it can be done. “No Data”. I will be thinking about that all day now. It is offensive, souring. Just one more thing.
Nothing New Beneath the Sun – Anita Louise Jay
1800 word Mystery
One morning when digging in my garden in Mexico my spade hits a hard object. It appears to be an old statue, but it is formed of a strange metal and seems to glow in the light. What events will the discovery of this object initiate in my life?
I was digging in the garden when my spade struck something metal. The jolt shot right up my arm into my shoulder blade. I dropped the spade and bent over the large hole that I had been digging to plant a young papaya tree. There at the bottom I could see just a glint of bronze. I climbed into the hole – it was at least half a metre deep and equally wide. I tried to burrow beneath the object, but my arm was sore after the jolt. The instrument of my pain was stuck fast. I would need a trowel or small spade to dislodge it. I hurried into the house to find some ointment to rub onto my aching shoulder, then to the garden shed to locate my trowel.
Please Don’t Tell – Linda Daunter
If your spouse suddenly disappeared would you want the town gossip to know the truth about what had happened to him or her? That’s the dilemma faced by the narrator of this intriguing tale.
Read the reviews HERE
“Yoo-hoo! It’s only me!” I winced at Elsie’s strident voice and sat quite still. Elsie was my next-door neighbour. She reminded me of an inquisitive little terrier the way she trotted about sniffing, looking, listening; determined not to miss a single hint of gossip. “Yoo-hoo! Anyone at home?” She was trying to peer through the frosted glass of the back door. Reluctantly, I got up and opened it. “Sorry to bother you so early, only I wondered if I could borrow …?” Elsie stopped and stared. “Whatever’s the matter, dear? You look dreadful!”