Memories flooded Myrtle Shaw’s mind as she gazed into the mirror. She smiled, blinking her large, contact-lens-less green eyes. She thought of her little village, Saltby St. Mary’s, recalling balmy summer evenings at the cricket pitch, sipping champagne by the walls of the ancient church, only the occasional ‘thwack’ of willow on leather breaking the peaceful silence.
She recalled the seven ‘unfortunate incidents’ – villagers found dead – shot, stabbed or poisoned, and how she had masterfully solved every case, assisted, of course, by Inspector Jack Johnson and the Boys in Blue from the nearby town of Thicksby.
She regarded herself in the mirror again, realising that this was a writer’s cliche and knowing that she, herself, was a fictional character. Poor old Augustus Chrystle! Her creator, ‘God’, lay in hospital, seriously ill, and her future as an amateur detective was on hold.
‘Carpe diem!’ That was her catch phrase in all seven novels, applauded by a multitude of readers around the world. Nervously, she twisted a necklace of polished jade beads, hoping against hope that God would recover, and by his grace another resident would meet a sticky end, giving her the opportunity to use the phrase once more.
Featured in the book, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories
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