You may remember our promo (with Q&A and excerpt) of Phil Lecomber‘s period crime mystery thriller, The Mask of the Verdoy (A George Harley Mystery #1). This series has started off with some fantastic reviews, and I am looking forward to the read myself at a later date. With Book 2 due to be released later in the year, the author has decided to share a FREE short story, A SHILLLING LIFE, with you to whet your appetites!
The conversation prompts Benny to begin to pen a firsthand account of the time (THE CHRONICLES OF GREEK STREET) and the first subsequent ‘story within a story’ is a stark record of the effects that extremist movements such as the Blackshirts can have on the lives of everyday folk.
Here’s a sample of the first few paragraphs:
Soho, London – 1963
For the third time that morning Benny returned to contemplate the photograph on the front page of the newspaper. Through the air vent above his head there wafted in a heady mix of piquant aromas and the industrious clamour of a Soho readying itself for another weekend’s revelry—a task that, to the casual passerby, might seem daunting in the stark light of day, without the feverish neon to flatter its glamorous squalor.
Outside in the bright autumnal morning brooms were pushed, steps hosed and canopies raised; liveried Austin vans squeezed down the narrow backstreets to deliver the raw materials for the coming night’s entertainment: livid cuts of meat and iced shoals of silver for the restaurants; crates of knocked-off spirits and wines of dubious provenance for the clip-joints; and stacks of Scandinavian delicacies (baled in brown paper wrapping) for the pornmongers.
In steamy coffee bars, slumped over sticky Formica, the victims of card sharks stared into the milky froth of their cups, numbed for the moment from the size of their losses by cheap whisky hangovers. And from anonymous-looking doorways furtive working girls slipped out into the streets to play at normal life for a few hours. All this to a soundtrack played out by the jangle of the Wurlitzer and the sigh of the Gaggia … 1960s Soho in all its truculent glory.
But cosseted in the subterranean gloom of Sammy’s Cabaret Bar, Benny Levine was lost in a different decade; transported back thirty years by a piercing stare which, although diminished somewhat by age, still held its aristocratic threat of superiority and entitlement …
LONDON, 1932 … a city held tight in the grip of the Great Depression. George Harley’s London. The West End rotten with petty crime and prostitution; anarchists blowing up trams; fascists marching on the East End.And then, one smoggy night …The cruel stripe of a cutthroat razor … three boys dead in their beds … and a masked killer mysteriously vanishing across the smoky rooftops of Fitzrovia.
Before long the cockney detective is drawn into a dark world of murder and intrigue, as he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the very security of the British nation.
God save the King! eh, George?
For our promo on The Mask of the Verdoy, with Q&A with Phil Lecomber and an excerpt, please follow the link below:-
Purchase links for the Mask of the Verdoy:-