WINNER (£30 Amazon Voucher)
The Artemis Descent by Cul Quest (Paul Long)
Bats in the Belfry by Madeleine McDonald
Bounty Hunter by Debb Bouch
Creepy Killers Can’t Climb Stairs by Susan Rocks
Dripsnot Goes in Search of a Wife! by Moya Rooke
I. S.P.Y. by Colin Willison
The Iron Maiden by Jo Furniss
Lord of the Wings by Judith Field
Quite a Few Hues of Green by Candida Verity (Pauline Brown)
The Case of the Facebook Identity by Gargi Mehra
The Lourdes of the Reeds by Roger Pattison
The Pot Thickens by Susan Howe
The Rummy Business of Incest and Infidelity by Maureen Bowden
Whatever Next? by Edward Binge
All runners up will receive a printed copy of the Bookmuse Readers' Journal.
The Artemis Descent by Cul Quest (Paul Long)
Lecturer in Ancient Vegetables, Saxon Rout, addressed the assembled throng.
“And that is why the turnip is responsible for the Colossus of Rhodes,” he said, finishing his lecture, and the crowd erupted into a mass of ecstatic applause, several patrons fainting at the immensity of his revelations.
Art allowed himself a wry smile. His field – vegetable based antique divination – was a small one, but he was the expert in his discipline. Just then his red phone rang.
“Come to the British Museum at once,” implored the strange voice on the other end. “It is of earth-shattering portent!”
Saxon stared down at the dead body of the old man on the floor as Reginald Crawl hovered worriedly by his side.
“When we found him he was holding nothing but this,” said Reginald, showing Saxon a dirt covered spoon.
Suddenly police sirens pealed.
“They must not discover you with the body!” panicked Reginald. “Come with me! ”
From the back of the van Saxon turned the dirty spoon over in his hands as he contemplated it. From the markings on the crechante – or tip of the handle – he could tell it was of ancient stock, possibly pre-Sumerian but more probably from ancient Greece, around the time of the Cretan architect Chersiphron. However, a small indentation, possibly carrot shaped, spoke of a history more applicable to the time of Christ, as everything seemed to be these days.
Saxon was just contemplating the possibility that the smudge marks on the faffan – or tip of the spoon – may have been caused by some act of arson, possibly on one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, when the van juddered to a halt.
The door opened to reveal Reginald with a Luger in one hand and a spade in the other.
“I’m afraid I’ve uncharacteristically changed my mind,” he weasled. “The reputation of the British Museum is more important than your life, which is why I have driven you to Turkey where I shall kill you and dispose of your body.” Reginald coughed, dropping the spade onto the threshold of the door. “Any last words?”
“May I adjust my tie?” asked Saxon, and then suddenly dropped the spoon which clattered onto the metal surface of the van floor.
Reginald gasped and leapt for the spoon, allowing Saxon enough time to pick up the spade and artfully thump him over the back of the head, knocking him out cold.
Saxon was now stuck in Turkey, with no idea what to do next, and then noticed something which would not be revealed until the next chapter.
A secret map, squirrelled away in the pocket of Reginald Crawl, revealed a cryptic statement. “For whom the Temple holds dear, let Lydia lead the way.” As far as Saxon knew there was only one historical artefact in Turkey known as ‘Lydia’, and that was the ancient kingdom of Lydia where it’s population once spoke the Anatolian language of Lydian, and where the first satrap – or governor – was Tabulus, who was appointed by Cyrus the Great.
Saxon closed down Wikipedia and set off on his destination.
Saxon made his way through the Byzantine ruins, searching for a clue. Although his field was mainly vegetable based he had some precursive knowledge of other ancient artefacts, and it was this knowledge which allowed him to catch sight of the etching in the side of the ruins. It was the shape of a man with long hair who bore a striking similarity to Robert Powell. One hand pointed off to the left, and Saxon turned his head to judge what the outstretched finger was pointing at.
Of course, Saxon erupted internally. It all fell into place.
The ancient Temple of Artemis – one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Once a large palace filled with life and laughter, and now a ruined wasteland of pillars and stone.
As Saxon walked through the rubble he pondered what stories the ancient stone could tell him. Stories of love, hate, intrigue and other things.
Now the word count was reaching its maximum potential Saxon suddenly noticed an etching of an ancient Brussel sprout in the base of one of the pillars, with an arrow pointing upwards. Above him, around the top of the pillar, unfurled a story, one which held some earth shattering secrets for mankind, and one which, luckily, no one else had noticed yet, lacking the ancient vegetable based knowledge Saxon had.
Saxon burst into the underground inner chamber in the British Museum to find Reginald Crawl, the chief of police, both the front bench and the shadow front bench, and several members of the royal family all sharing a cup of tea.
“Your secret is no longer safe!” Saxon cried. “The man who built the Temple of Artemis was also the artisan who created the first cup of tea Jesus ever drank! And furthermore, it was a divine Brussel Sprout which led the Magi to his crib! Soon the world shall know!”
Reginald collapsed to his knees, weeping. “Do not approach the media with this news of earth shattering importance. If the world knew the truth society as we know it would crumble at the seams, for some unspecified reason. For I am the descendant of the Brewer of Jesus’ Tea, and the fame would kill me, again for some unspecified reason.”
“Why did you kill the man with the spoon?” investigated Saxon.
“He died of natural causes, taking the secret of how many sugars Jesus had with the tea,” expositioned Reginald. “We thought you could find out the truth! I only pretended to try to kill you in Turkey so you wouldn’t connect me with the amount of sugars required!”
“And that secret will stay with me.”
“Tell us!” shrieked Reginald as Saxon turned his back on them and left the building, a wry smile on his face. After all, he knew the secret. The answer was no sugars.
The Bookmuse Readers' Journal
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