Print Version of CBC's Five-Minute Mystery Series
“911” was my recent contribution to the CBC Radio’s Five-Minute-Mystery Series. The audible version (with Deverell playing the perp) can be found by scrolling down a few entries to 911 on the CBC’s books site. We hear only the caller’s voice, as if overheard from outside a pay phone booth, and sirens near the end.
The script as written:
Nine-one-one? Are you there?
Yes, ma’am, this is an emergency, there’s been a sudden death…
Well, why do you have to know my name …
No, I do not reside at the address shown on your display. I’m at a pay phone outside some dank saloon in a freaking strip mall! I don’t have a home. The bank owns my home. I currently reside in a Saab 9-7X that I used to own. In case you’re interested, there’s been a shooting. Do you require more unnecessary information before I tell you about it?
The Blog: July 6
On Thrill Killing, Libel, and Writers Block
Where was I? Well, obviously not looking after this sporadic blog.
In my defence, I’ve been driving to complete a first draft of an Arthur Beauchamp novel, a kind of horror sendup, a thrill killer stalking our anxiety-ridden hero. Does he survive? I won’t spoil the ending.
Still looking for a title. The Last Days of Arthur Beauchamp, something like that.
As well, I’ve been distracted by my personal horror show: that grumpy old fellow pictured in my posting of March 19 just won’t let up. To my astonishment, Horace Widgeon has discovered crowd-funding, and is exhorting his fans to kick in for the doubtless atrocious fees of his supposed hotshot counsel, Ballentine J. Bingham, Esq.
Regrettably, my guard dogs (see below) turned out not to be as ferocious as I’d hoped, and were nuzzling and crotch-sniffing Bingham’s pretty student lawyer as she thrust a writ at me through my open studio window. I wasn’t checking my security camera – too busy enjoying a scene where Beauchamp gets busted for pot trafficking.
Mesmerized by the sweet scene of face-licking dog love, I accepted the writ. It accuses me of libel and copyright theft. They’re starting at $500,000.
Come on, fellows, why can’t we settle this the old-fashioned way. A gloved slap. Muskets at fifty paces. Otherwise, I have a friend in Sicily (pictured here) prepared to make a counter-offer you can’t refuse. We would be saddened to see your client embarrassed by a public revealing of his terrible secret.
Enough said. Back to work. Here’s a lovely, long-winded tip about writers block from my nemesis’s masterwork, Secrets of the Whodunit.
“Do not mentally exhaust yourself. Before chance (and whatever small talents I possess) favoured me with literary success, I too had a day job, as inspector for Her Majesty’s Customs, and I would often arrive at work exhausted after scribbling till three in the morning. Many a smuggled item must have slipped through on my watch! So please, when you see nothing but rot on your page, take a deep breath, pack your pages away, and make a soothing cup of Earl Grey while you climb into your pyjamas.”
I prefer Chandler’s Law: “When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.”
In my last posting, on suspects, I overlooked this delicious advice from the vigilance-challenged former customs officer:
“The tardy entrance of your final suspect must not be seen as an afterthought, idly tossed off. Even the dullest of readers should exclaim: ‘Eureka!’ as they realize they ought to have paid more attention to the boring parts.”
Next posting: how to skip over the boring parts. (For instance, the entirety of Widgeon’s short-story collection, Stiff in the Freezer.)
The Blog: May 27
On Suspects, Villains, and Masturbation
The Blog: April 13
More Hot Murder Tips
The Blog: March 19
Widgeon Wakes Sleeping Dogs
Creator of the Inspector Grodgins Series
18, Vicarage Lane
March 18, 2013
Dear Mr. Deverell,
Many days have I struggled to still my indignation at your impertinent public response to my sincere offer to accept an unrestrained apology in settlement of issues between us. But at the risk of offending my solicitors, who advise I let sleeping dogs lie while their writ plods its way through court, I cannot let your canards go unchallenged.
Let me say firstly I am proud to bear the name of the great Horace of Caesar’s time, whose satire was intended for social abuses, not personal attacks and ridicule.
Particularly, I want to assure you that the action I am taking has nothing to do with your intemperate review of Blood on the Remainder Table. Please know that I have simply shaken off, like a wet dog, your laments about my allegedly inapt metaphors and “interminable” sentences; however, I warn you that far too often have you skated on the thin ice of libel when commenting on works by our compatriots, so I propose to strike a blow for my fellow scribes by suing you for defamation and theft (yes, theft, my good sir, for you have filched not just my good name – that “precious ointment,” if I dare quote that greatest poet and crime writer of all time) but have stolen that which I daresay does indeed enrich you: the copywritten creations born of my lonely labours at this very keyboard. I am instructed that in one of your novels, Kill All the Judges (which I haven’t read, having assigned my clerk to shoulder that repugnant task) contains some fifteen quotes lifted holus bolus from The Art of the Whodunit. That book retails at ten quid in trade paper!
Nor do my demands for satisfaction have anything to do with my narrow loss in the finals of the Nero awards of several years ago. Though as an aside, let me say there was quite a stir at Cheltenham Press when word came from the jury room that Get Grodgins was favoured. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them that with Deverell on the jury, my book stood as much chance, to use a metaphor, as the egg the chicken laid on the road.
Meanwhile, I am instructed to advise you, in the event that you try to evade service of the writ, that my solicitors have retained a leading Canadian counsel to petition the courts for an injunction to close down your blog pending trial of my claim which, I shall warn you now, Mr. Deverell, will involve a sufficient sum in damages to put you on your beam ends.
Sincerely, Horace Widgeon, OBE, MBE