Village teacher, Matt Kreasey, is reduced to paranoia by the street-hardened students in his new inner-city London post.
His student, Amy, lets him glimpse at love, but could she, too, be one of those gathering with the hunting knife which has already ended the life of his colleague ?
Can a paranoid stop himself from destroying the sunshine that she, alone, might have returned to his life, forsaking what enduring love could be ?
“Kreasey wondered whether his student had appeared before his immaculately groomed neighbour, Doctor Mallaby, in her very highest heels, the ones that gave Amy an extra three-and-a-half inches of height over a world that had always seemed to look down on her. On her first visit, he’d noticed, Amy was slightly undernourished and shivering in a short skirt with a slit up the side. She’d been clutching her essay to her low-necked top and he’d wanted to tell her that she’d made him happy enough – just by appearing on his doorstep with her essay and those eyes which spoke of deprivation and held, for him, openness more beautiful in itself than any he’d seen in any student before.”
She, alone among his students, had tried to help him but reduced to paranoia about his students, Matt has his first doubts about her intentions, despite her intimacy with him…
” ‘Well, are we going to see you in them?’ she smiled, still holding his shorts out like her trophy. But as he watched her lips they seemed to shape like those in a poorly dubbed film where the voice is out of sync’ with the words… reminding him now to ‘eat up’ all his tablets and that, then, he wouldn’t need to be ‘cut up’.”
The acute anxiety state kicked in again, the paranoia deepening, real love seeming to be no more than a cruel deception…
‘Long night teacher,’ his students seemed to chorus. ‘Long is for lithe, panting tiger waitin’ for you.’
Amy had slept with him but now something warm and fleshy had covered his eyes, the whole mattress had sagged deep beneath him, his body sprung with the bed… all was dark as moonless night.”
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My fascination with character study led me to my degree in Psychology and Philosophy from the University College of North Wales and then as a college lecturer in English Literature which, combined with a fascination for the atmosphere I found in Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca”, all drove me to become a full-time writer of character studies, atmospheric mystery and suspense, with underlying romance and family/relationships.
Troubled souls; the outsider, the lonely, any driven to extremity, have been indispensable for my novels which you can sample and, I hope, download from the online bookstores I’ve included in the Home and Novel Excerpts & Samples sections of my website.
Of my novel based in Cyprus, “Aristo’s Family”, Barbara Erskine, best selling author of River of Destiny, has generously commented on the “beautifully observed characters, intriguing and atmospheric scenes and, above all, the suspense which made me want to read on”.
My favourite film producer is Alfred Hitchcock, and I suppose it is true to say that I have been most influenced in my writing by Patricia Highsmith, who always struck me as more interested in the psychological motives of the ‘why-done-it’ than the ‘who-done-it’. Of those who have sadly passed, Ruth Rendell, D H Lawrence and – particularly – Daphne du Maurier, have fired my enthusiasm while of those who, thankfully, still live, I enjoy the work of Ian McEwan and Susan Hill, author of The Lady in Black.
I suspect that my teaching of English Literature in colleges and then as a private tutor have in some measure informed my new suspense A Child from the Wishing Well.
This features an eerie music tutor, her young pupil Rosie and Rosie’s paranoid and inept father, Gerard, who nevertheless yearns to mean more to his daughter. Throughout, I think it is fair to say I was consumed with the question of whether Gerard, the paranoid father, could in the end fight his mental illness to grow closer to his daughter, Rosie, who is, emotionally, alone.
Other than being an author, I am a well-behaved ‘hubby’ and ‘ Pops’ to my dear daughter, Catherine. I confess to a passion for plump, docile tabbies and am moved by the music and life of the composer Edward Elgar, my interest leading me each year to a cottage in the Malvern Hills and to the Three Choirs Festival.