Serialisation of book by Delphine Richards
Tegwyn Takes Stock.
He has read the paper from cover to cover; finished the crossword and the Sudoku.
Again his eyes are drawn to the engraved carriage clock; the one they gave him when he retired. He wonders why the minute hand moves so slowly.
‘What are you going to do when you retire, boss?’ they used to ask him at Headquarters.
‘Play golf. Go to the gym. Travel. Go to the theatre.’ He would give the same answers. Until Jamie Bowen, (who, in Tegwyn’s opinion, will go far once he passes his sergeant’s exam), said, ‘But you do all that already, sir.’
‘Don’t worry about my welfare,’ Tegwyn had said, ‘You’ll have enough to worry about when the new DCI takes over. He won’t be a soft touch like me!’
DS Alun Lewis had rolled his eyes behind Tegwyn’s back.
Then, eight months before he retired, Gwenda had died suddenly. An embolism, they said and tried to explain it to him at the hospital, but he had just held up his hand and nodded. Tegwyn had dealt with death in many forms during his career – and even before then. He was angry that some young doctor felt the need to spell it out for him.
His retirement party passed in usual fashion. Lower ranking colleagues made speeches in which over-embellished accounts of his mistakes made everyone laugh. Goodwill toasts were proposed and everyone was careful not to mention the word ‘wife’.
He tried to keep busy: walking, going to the gym and getting involved with new charities. It was probably the extra walking that brought things to a head and, six weeks ago, he had undergone a hip replacement operation. Just as well he had kept up his private medical insurance after retirement, he thinks wryly.
The physical healing process is going well, but the mental agony of spending so much time in an empty house that has lost its hub, is harder to bear. He realises how ironic it is to think of all the years Gwenda spent alone in this house while he worked on some major enquiry or other. Divine retribution, some might say.
‘You ought to write a book,’ Owen Bell, the landlord of the Poacher’s used to say to him before he retired, ‘All the things you’ve seen and dealt with...’
Since then, Emma has also said it, ‘You should write a book, dad.’
But he knows she is only saying it out of a desperate attempt to fill the empty space in his life - the empty space that he didn’t fully appreciate when Gwenda had occupied that very void.
But, the boredom of recovering from a hip replacement had planted the seed in his mind. He had even contacted Hywel, (or Tim as he’s known these days,) to ask his advice.
Hywel writes fiction, but Tegwyn had assumed the basics were the same. Thorough research was the first move, Hywel had said. Then, a careful assessment of what was likely to provoke litigation. Tegwyn knew about litigation. The word didn’t scare him as it would have done someone who had not spent his working life dealing with the law.
With another quick glance at the carriage clock, he grabs the walking stick and gets to his feet. Then a careful manoeuvre up the stairs towards the spare bedroom that doubles as a storage room for all the paperwork he has brought home over the years. Best to do it now, he thinks, before Emma calls in to see him. She will worry if she knows he has gone upstairs on his own - though he is perfectly capable of doing so. She is afraid he might fall. She had been there when the doctor said that his bones were not as dense as they should be, and that he needed to eat more dairy products. The thought of it turns his stomach as he crosses the landing!
He sits in the spare bedroom and starts opening drawers and filing cabinets. Early cases give away their date by the old fashioned typewriter print, while more recent ones are slick and computer processed. He starts to read - so many minor details he had forgotten.
The hours fly by and his mind is whirring with possibilities.
Then, a thought occurs to him. How much of each story will never be known to him? All the cases are tightly bound in legality and correct procedure, but what about the facts that will never see the public light of day? Things that only the victim and the defendant would have known about. The dead victim cannot speak and the defendant, well, how often can we take his or her version of events as an accurate record, he thinks?
Unfortunately, real crimes don’t end like a Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple story, he reflects. People don’t assemble in the drawing room to hear the detective running through all the possibilities before finally pointing to the guilty party!
He thinks back even further to events during his childhood – the stuff that filled the stomach of the Llanefa gossip-machine – what significant parts have been lost?
Hywel was right, he realises. It was going to take a lot of research. He doesn’t even know if he will actually end up writing anything. He cannot see why anyone would want to read half a story when the most interesting and revealing parts will always be kept secret.
If only the people themselves could tell the story, he thinks, a ‘warts and all’ account of how it all came to be. Now, there would be a book worth buying!
He picks up another file and continues reading.
Serialisation of Blessed are the Cracked by Delphine Richards with permission. The book is published by Cambria Books and is available as a paperback to buy direct HERE or on Amazon as a Kindle eBook.