book lover, professional writer & blogger
“ . . . As luck would have it, I happened to be visiting Aunt Elsie the day she caught fire. Even more luckily, I was the one who’d started it . . . ”
On A Needle To Know Basis is a quirky, dark comedy-mystery centring around ‘bulky, bustling old Aunt Elsie’, the possible keeper of a hidden stash of gold and a very messy bundle of shocking secrets. She’s sat knitting one evening when she drops a bombshell about parentage to her niece: “My sister Mavis wasn’t your mother!” she blurts, and her admission sets off a spiralling search for the family truths.
Set in fictional Marmole Village and host to a cast of funny characters, this is the perfect short story to enliven any dull bus journey, frustrating traffic jam or tedious waiting room experience. To put it old Elsie’s way, it’s got more twists and turns than a badly-planned scarf.
“It was wintertime when five, kind men from the fire brigade put out our Aunt Elsie. I say ‘put out’ because she was on fire.”
“The short, stocky oak door – as solid as the tree that made it and a perfect fit for Aunt Elsie – was the hardest door you would ever try and open, stiff as a board and a deterrent to the young tearaways who thought she had gold.”
“There was an almighty bang. Something inside Marmole Cottage had blown up. Part of the roof lifted off and, as pieces of building rained down on the garden, I had to cover my head with my arms to protect it. Racing about like a fat woodland animal, the crackling noise and sparks and falling debris behind her, old Elsie came out screaming, her hair on end like something out of a cartoon.”
“I laughed and then I cried, to make it look authentic.”
“Heart attack. Residual shock. A cumulative strain on her system. I said, “But there was only one fire,” and the police officer eyed me suspiciously. “It’s the grief,” I said bitterly. “It causes me to make inappropriate comments.” Natural causes. Old age. Cold nights. Never got over the death of her husband. All kinds of reasons were mentioned at church. People made up reasons and then sat there while the coffin rotated, hoping they wouldn’t die of the same thing.”
Elsie’s fictional home, her beloved ‘Marmole Cottage’, is based on a black and white picture I found in a stash of old photographs I didn’t know existed, in the attic of my own old house. The idea that someone left those photographs there, hidden away for however many years, really appealed to my mystery-loving nature. The secrecy and suspicion I felt at the time led me to write the short story that is now known as On A Needle To Know Basis. I wanted to expand my understanding of writing comedies and quirky mysteries, freak my readers out with dark references to knitting and generally make people laugh.
So far, Needle has been well reviewed on both Amazon and Goodreads. Here are some example comments:
4 Stars! “A good mystery, written so you’re not really sure what’s going to happen next. Well worth £0.77 of anyone’s money! Cheaper than a coffee, and it’s more satisfying and will last longer!” (Arry, Amazon Purchaser)
5 Stars! “Fantastic short story with funny characters. Very dark and mysterious. Read the whole thing on my journey to work and I felt less serious afterwards!” (Mark, Amazon Purchaser)
To try the book yourself – for free this Sunday 20th January – just visit Amazon’s secure website and download the full copy to your Kindle, smart-phone or PC via Amazon Prime.
The UK link is: Get My Book! The US link is: I Want This Book! (Needle is also available in Japan, germany, Italy, Spain and other countries, just go to Amazon for more details if you don’t live in the UK or US.)
Last but not least, please consider posting a short review to Amazon and Goodreads if you get a spare few minutes after you’ve read the story. Reviews are essential for other readers because they help them decide if they want to go ahead and try a book and for writers, to see what people thought of their work.
Hope you enjoy the book!