ExtractRead section 1 of the novel Dead Men's Fingers

There, on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds to hang, an envious sliver broke, when down her weedy trophies and herself fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide, and, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up. But long it could not be till that her garments, heavy with their drink, pulled the poor wretch to muddy death.

Just as he had found her: Elizabeth for Ophelia; crowflowers, daisies, and dead men's fingers bobbing all around her in the water, broken little necklaces bobbing up and down in the muddy water.

That was when the horror - waiting, dormant, sleeping its rude sleep - had finally awoken in him, to clasp his soul in its cold embrace. From the first words spoken, he had begun to sob, unashamedly, uncontrollably, managing to achieve what the supply teacher, for all his efforts, had not: bringing the unruly class to order. A hush had settled on all those around him, till there was only one person speaking and then not even one. All of them were looking at him, hearing him cry. None of them laughed at his soppy display; some of them, some of the girls, became teary themselves, knowing what it was that so moved him: little Elizabeth Connor, drowned in the river; Elizabeth Connor, murdered in Lonely River. One woe doth tread upon another's heel. Your sister's drowned, Laertes.

Every one of them knew he was reliving that: finding his sister, his sweet and innocent little sister 'Lizabeth, floating face down amidst her garlands in Lonely River.

As the clock was once again striking the hour - ... five, six, seven - a key turned in the lock and someone entered the house. For a last, lingering moment, there was doubt, uncertainty. What if Judy came in first? What if she had come back alone?

But it wasn't her who came in.

"Hiya, Briggsy," he said, grinning. He picked up the gun and levelled it at him. "Welcome home."

All that time, frittered away, fretting. And then in the end, it was easy. So, so easy.

[To read the rest of the novel Dead Men's Fingers, see the purchase information below.]

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The novel is also available as part of an omnibus edition with Sheldon's other novels, Delhi Deadlines and Virtually, via (UK readers), and (North America).


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