Authors: Neil Richards
“Cherringham — A Cosy Crime Series” is a series made up of self-contained stories. A new episode is released each month. The series is published in English as well as in German, and is only available in e-book form.
(US-based) is the author of a number of successful novels, including
Beneath Still Waters
(1989), which was adapted by Lionsgate as a major motion picture. He has written for The Disney Channel, BBC, SyFy and has also designed dozens of bestselling games including the critically acclaimed
The 7th Guest
Pirates of the Caribbean
has worked as a producer and writer in TV and film, creating scripts for BBC, Disney, and Channel 4, and earning numerous Bafta nominations along the way. He’s also written script and story for over 20 video games including
The Da Vinci Code
, co-written with Douglas Adams, and consults around the world on digital storytelling.
His writing partnership with NYC-based Matt Costello goes back to the late 90’s and the two have written many hours of TV together.
is their first crime fiction as co-writers.
is a former NYPD homicide detective who lost his wife a year ago. Being retired, all he wants is peace and quiet. Which is what he hopes to find in the quiet town of Cherringham, UK. Living on a canal boat, he enjoys his solitude. But soon enough he discovers that something is missing — the challenge of solving crimes. Surprisingly, Cherringham can help him with that.
is a web designer who was living in London with her husband and two kids. Two years ago, he ran off with his sexy American boss, and Sarah’s world fell apart. With her children she moved back to her home town, laid-back Cherringham. But the small town atmosphere is killing her all over again — nothing ever happens. At least, that’s what she thinks until Jack enters her life and changes it for good or worse …
A COSY CRIME SERIES
Digital original edition
Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG
Copyright © 2015 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany
Written by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards
Edited by Victoria Pepe
Project management: Lori Herber
Cover illustration: © shutterstock/ Buslik/ BackyardProduction/ Bastian Keinitz/ artemisphoto/ Helen Hotson
Cover design: Jeannine Schmelzer
E-book production: Urban
Daniel brought his binoculars up to his eyes while — beside him — so did his best friend, Tom.
Daniel’s binoculars — used by his mum to identify the birds that came to their garden feeder were tiny. But Tom had his dad’s military field glasses, giant things.
But from here — on the crest of a hill — they both got a great view.
They could look down at the rolling fields of Pelham farm, now turned into a real movie set.
This was absolutely the best place to see it all.
“Look,” Daniel said to Tom, “they’re getting all the horses lined up.”
“This is brilliant — just like the real thing. See the guys in armour? But what are those white things over there, near the cameras?” Tom said.
Daniel looked away from the line of actors on horseback over to where he could see one of the big cameras. On either side, he saw what looked like massive pieces of white material, hanging like sails.
“Not sure. Looks like — I don’t know — maybe they catch the light?”
Why they would need more light, he wasn’t sure.
Today was all blue sky and sun; it even felt warm for a spring day. New grass on the field, the bushes and trees all coming back to life.
Winter was gone at last. Perfect timing, what with the Easter holidays just a couple of days away …
“Hey look! I think that’s the director,” Daniel said.
“Who? Oh — wait — the guy waving his arms?”
“Could be. Looks like total chaos,” Daniel said.
Then men in jeans started leading the horses, getting them into a neat line.
But one horse — deep black, its coat shiny in the sun — stayed at the back, no rider yet. Then a woman with blonde hair, wearing a puffy purple gown, walked towards it.
The black stallion shook its head, and then a man came over, held the reins and placed a stool at its side.
Daniel watched as the woman looked up at the horse, and then, with the man helping her, she grabbed the saddle and climbed onto the horse, sitting to the side, legs dangling.
Every horse now had an actor on it, the line standing quietly, waiting. The man who Daniel thought was the director came over, gesturing to first one actor then another, until finally he looked back at the last horse, the gleaming black one with the woman rider.
From up here, he couldn’t hear what the director was saying. But it looked like he was giving everyone last-minute instructions.
“This is so cool,” Daniel said.
“I can only see one microphone though; you see it on that long pole? How will they get all the sound?” Tom said.
In the last couple of years, Daniel had become a movie buff; he even thought he might like to work in that world of film, TV one day …
He was reading all the books on film-making in the school library that he could find.
“They do that later,” he said. “It’s called ‘looping’. They’ll re-record any dialogue they need in a studio. All the sound effects too …”
“Oh,” Tom said. “Makes sense.”
“The horses’ hooves on the ground, the clattering armour … all that. That’s called ‘Foley’ work.”
“Foley? Who’s that?”
Daniel laughed, “The guy who invented making sound effects.”
“Fred Foley?” Tom said, laughing.
“No. He was real. His name was Jack Foley. When they started making films with sound. Almost a hundred years ago …”
“If you say so …”
“Wait. Who’s that?” Daniel watched the man he thought was the director back off, moving away from the horses and the actors. And now another man appeared from the side, with a baseball cap on his head, looking just like one of Daniel’s favourite directors, Steven Spielberg.
And now the men holding the reins of the horses handed them to the actors, all of them dressed in deep maroon costumes dotted with silvery pieces of armour, the helmets with their visors raised.
“I think —
the director.” Daniel said. “See how everyone’s listening to him. Has to be …”
And after the director pointed left and right, everyone not in costume backed away, until Daniel could see that — in front of the massive camera — it must have looked like a scene from 400 years ago.
Which was when the movie was set.
Daniel didn’t know much about the story of the film, just that it was about a battle between King Charles I and Oliver Cromwell over a woman …
When he’d first read about it, it sounded like it might be just a boring love story … The title wasn’t promising:
The Rose of Cherringham
, and the description — ‘she broke their hearts and tore a country apart’ — was exactly the kind of movie Daniel would try and avoid.
But this scene — with the soldiers, the horses, the swords … looked like it was going to be all action.
Daniel watched the director walk close to the camera. But instead of looking at the scene through the camera, he crouched down in a huddle of other people on low chairs.
“Guess he can see it all being filmed on some kind of monitor,” Daniel said.
cool,” Tom, said. “From up here you can see everything.”
There was no way they could have got close to the set down on the field, not with the area cut off with tape, and men acting as guards to keep people away.
No one guarding this hill that looked over the field of battle.
The director raised his hand.
Then … the horses started to move.
The line of horses with the soldiers had only taken a few steps when, from the left, a single rider in full armour came galloping up fast.
“Who’s he?” Tom said.
“Maybe that’s Cromwell?” Daniel said. “It’s one of the stars, for sure.”
And just as that rider raced onto the scene, the line of horses stopped.
But the black stallion with the woman on it … didn’t stop as fast as the others.
That horse took a step forward, then another back, as if confused.
“See the horse in the back, with the queen on it? I think there’s something strange going on …” Daniel said.
“You’re right. It looks … fidgety.”
But the action seemed to go on, now with the actor who had galloped into the scene pointing to the woman, attempting to use his horse to block his way.
“Wonder what they’re saying?” Tom said.
Daniel did too — but he kept letting his binoculars drift back to the woman sitting side-saddle, her long gown trailing almost down to the muddy ground.
Then — in one fluid movement — the actor wearing full armour pulled out his sword. The metal caught the sunlight and sent a brilliant flash shooting up to the top of the hill.
“Wow,” Tom said.
And the other soldier leading the line of men, obviously protecting the woman, pulled out his sword as well.
Then — best of all — they slashed at each other. The swords — which Daniel had assumed couldn’t be real — gave off a realistic clang that travelled all the way up to their viewing spot.
And all the horses stayed perfectly still as again the two swords went flying through the air, banging together.