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Don`t play with me! Chapter three

by freynolds 

Posted: 01 June 2009
Word Count: 498
Summary: Finally uploaded chapter 3 - Chapter 4 to follow soon

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Chapter III – October 2007 En route to France

Pierre had planned every single detail of his trip with minutiae that bordered on insanity. He was in England on business and had completed both tasks he had come to perform. From the signing of the contract with the UK publisher to distribute his latest book to Isobel’s grand disappearing act, everything had worked as smoothly as expected. “The Dead Don’t Speak” was a perfect title, so perfect in fact, that he could even have dedicated it to his dead wife. The thought was tempting but it might be an imprudent indulgence.

The bottle of perfume purchased on his way to England was for his sister. He never failed to bring her a gift back from his travels. The bottle he had used earlier that day had belonged to Isobel and would be untraceable.
The compost had come from a garden centre. Out of the twenty bags purchased a few days ago, he had only used five. The rest, were scattered in Jane’s garden, his previous neighbour with whom he had remained in contact after returning home to France for good. Jane had been the only one not to turn her back on him all these years ago when he was under suspicion of murder.

The gloves had been paid in cash at another garden centre that was so busy, no one would remember the inconspicuous middle aged man in jeans and jumper who had made the purchase. He had stayed with Jane for a few days, whilst doing business in London, then checked into a B&B in Steyning for the remainder of his stay. He knew the area well, having rambled his way on the South Downs many times, something he did whenever he was visiting England. Again, there was nothing unusual about this.

The return ticket for the speed ferry to Caen was for the 5pm crossing and after checking out of the B&B in the afternoon of the previous day, he had made his way towards Portsmouth. The puncture had been another engineered plot that had forced him to stop at a garage just outside Chichester. They would remember him there. Having missed the ferry and arranged to be booked on the next available fast crossing, which was going to be the 5am departure the following morning, he had not headed for Portsmouth straight away. Instead, his destination had been Horsham to pick up Isobel.

Pierre had been very careful, yet there was no reason for him to be accused of Isobel’s murder. He had already stood trial for this very reason and Isobel had been declared officially dead five years previously. It had been a case of death in absentia.

Now, standing on deck the ferry, smoking a cigarette in the fresh English morning air, he smiled, remembering how, once, many years ago, Isobel had told him that when she died she wanted to be buried with Chanel Number Five. He always kept his promises.

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Comments by other Members

SJ Williamson at 09:56 on 02 June 2009  Report this post

I'm going to go back and read through from the beginning. I think it would flow nicely to read it all together. So far, however, there are some lovely ideas coming into this story. I'll be back to comment in full later on today.

The gloves had been paid cash at another garden centre that was so busy,

- there were a couple of "happy accidents" I spotted. Think this should be "The gloves had been paid for in cash at ..."

Back soon.



I managed to go back and read all 3 chapters. I was just saying to Scott, that it's such a shame we can only read each other's work spuradically, as when we normal read a book, it flows naturally. You really need to be published so that I can enjoy it all in one fluid read.

Revisiting your earlier chapters put it all back into perspective, and I enjoyed this very much. I like the feel of your work, it is shrowded in mystery.

Please forgive me if I'm being incredibly dim here! In the first chapter, Pierre is cleaning up after the murder in 2007. In this chapter, he is on the boat and it is October 2007, but in the last paragraphs, you say that he has already been accused of Isobel's murder 5 years previously. I'm a bit muddled!!


The Bar Stward at 23:26 on 02 June 2009  Report this post
He had already stood trial for this very reason and Isobel had been declared officially dead five years previously.

Interesting. This is like double jeopardy isn't it. For example. If your arrested for the murder of someone and do the time for it. If that person then turns out to be alive, in theory you could walk up to them in a busy shopping centre and kill them and the law couldn't touch you because you've already done the time for the murder. Anyway, your story is moving along nicely, the pace is still good. However, I would like to see you submit longer pieces, perhaps over 1000 words at least.

I'll look forward to the next instalment.

Mand245 at 06:10 on 03 June 2009  Report this post

I think "Don't Play With Me" is the most intriguing thing I've read in a long time. There are so many unanswered questions and hooks that you absolutely ensure that your readers will return for more! I know I will.

that bordered insanity.

that bordered on insanity

“The dead don’t speak”

I'm not absolutely sure about this but I think it is usual to use capitals for book titles, so: "The Dead Don't Speak"

his previous neighbour who he had remained in contact with after returning home to France for good.

This is only my opinion, and I'm sure what you've written is perfectly okay, but technically I think this line should read:
his previous neighbour with whom he had remained in contact after returning home to France for good.

The gloves had been paid cash at another garden centre

As SJ says - had been paid for in cash

few days, whilst doing business in London then checked into

comma after London

He always kept his promises.

This was a great and, I felt, slightly creepy last line. Fantastic!

I'm loving this - don't keep us waiting too long for the next chapter!


freynolds at 07:36 on 03 June 2009  Report this post
Thanks SJ, Scott and Mand for the useful feedback and comments. That's what I love about this group! Everyone brings something into the equation. Each advice is helpful and constructive.

This chapter is the last of the short, setting-the-scene ones. Next time, we'll be going back in time a little to answer some of the questions that have been raised.

SJ, you are not dim at all! The mention of the previous accusation was to create questions in the readers' minds and was intentionally placed here to sustain the sense of mystery. As Scott mentioned, this is a case of 'double jeopardy' and I hope that the story will deliver the answers along the way. I'll need your help to make sure it works!

Chapter 4 will be up on Monday, but I'm now off for a dip into Purgatory... and looking forward to it.


StephB at 14:44 on 03 June 2009  Report this post

I've just gone through and read all 3 chapters and am hooked! You raise so many questions, and I can't wait to read about this 'double jeopardy' twist.

I love the sinister Chanel Number Five twist - the MC seems to be developing into a really complex, intelligent character - he seems frighteningly normal...

Really looking forward to reading chapter 4!!

Steph x

nezelette at 23:19 on 03 June 2009  Report this post
Hi Fabienne,

As I've said before about don't play with me, I really like the tone and the matter-of-fact kind of narration.

There's no judgement, no emotion, no over-reaction, it's all very measured and understated. It gives an elegant tone to the piece, in a way.

I like the fact that he wants to take a bottle of perfume back to his sister. It shows him as a decent guy and contrasts nicely with what he's just done. As a reader, you want him to have a good reason to have killed someone, so you can carry on quite liking him!

I really like it and there are certainly many reasons to carry on reading!


fbtoast at 22:29 on 06 June 2009  Report this post
Hi Fabienne,

Some comments:

I don't think you can say "planned with minutiae", maybe "planned with an attention to minutiae"?

"whilst completing his business in London" - if you just say "whilst doing business in London", it's kind of as if you are repeating what you have already told us - that he is in England to do some business. Whereas if you say completing his business in London, it refers back to your previous explanation and just adds the extra info that it is in London.

Pierre is one sinister hombre! I don't think he's bordering on insanity, I think he's long since had his passport stamped at Border Immigration and is now checking into his hotel at Barmy Central.

Looking forward to the next instalment!


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