I never plot out my novels in terms of the tone of the book .Hopefull,y once a story is begun it reveals itself.
– Alice Hoffman
In last week’s post, the woman in the abstract painting was finally revealed as the spirit of the artist, Susan Stuart. Susan says she didn’t kidnap Bast Overture but pulled him into her realm to protect him from Cory Swan the photographer. Bast, however, managed to return to earth and was then kidnapped by Swan. Now he is missing again and Detective Sergeant Fielding and Detective Larry Hutchinson (along with Susan’s spirit) are off to Thurston to find Bast. Dana stays behind with a police constable awaiting Susan’s return with news. Except for Cory Swan, all characters are from stories in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, 2012)
Dana, staring at Constable Joseph Oliver: How did you, head of Records Bureau, wangle coming here? I was expecting a newbie.
Oliver: I convinced Fielding I would be the best choice as I am shall we say close to you and Bast professionally.
Dana: You mean you are our police source.
Oliver chuckles: Glad you can keep your sense of humour.
Dana nods: Yes, well in that vein I would like some more information about my brother’s kidnapping and in particular, why Cory Swan is so upset about that photo of Bast, Susan and Robbie Stuart.
Oliver: You know as much as I do.
Dana: Come on, Oliver.
Oliver shrugs his shoulders: Very well. Swan has a checkered background.
Dana: In what way?
Oliver: He was well connected to the Stuart family.
Dana: What do you mean? Beyond photographing Robbie and Susan for Bast’s story.
Oliver: No, before then…with their father.
Dana: Roger Stuart? The one who disappeared with his secretary years ago?
Oliver: Yes. I shouldn’t be telling you this. But Swan took some photos of Roger and his secretary…
Dana: Yes, but Roger is dead and the secretary is…
Oliver: I know. But for some reason Roger was taken with Swan – it wasn’t only his photography that connected him to people. He was also able to get people to talk about themselves and listen as if it was the most important thing in the world. We think that Swan found out about Roger Stuart ’s impending disappearance with his secretary and Roger paid him some money before he vanished.
Dana: You mean blackmail money?
Oliver shrugs his shoulders. Perhaps.
Dana: All right, say it was blackmail. How does my brother fit in with this? Roger Stuart disappeared before Bast became a crime reporter.
Oliver: We think that Bast uncovered this part of the story and confronted Swan with it – probably outside the interview with Robbie and Susan.
Dana: So, did he include it in his story? Where is that story anyway? Fielding, Hutchinson and I only found the photograph. We don’t know where it was published so can’t check the newspaper morgues.
Oliver shrugs his shoulders.
Dana: Oh, I get it. You did find the story. Come on Oliver, give it up. What did the story say?
Oliver: There was no mention of the connection between Roger Stuart and Cory Swan in the story.
Dana: So, what got Swan riled? Bast isn’t a reporter anymore.
Oliver: This. (Oliver hauls out a piece of paper from his folder.)
Dana leans over to look. The abstract painting starts vibrating and there is loud pounding on the door. The lights go out.
Sharon A. Crawford