Kathy Roberts is a lonely widow who
does domestic work twice a week for a woman who owns and lives on a property out
When a young male acquaintance of
Kathys says he would love to see the inside of such an old house in order to
keep his friendship, Kathy reluctantly allows him to do so. But that first visit
leads to a trail of robbery, death and intimidation.
When the police
investigation stalls, Kathy starts making her own enquiries, putting her own
life in danger.
In Store Price: $24.00
Online Price: $23.00
Ebook version –
Number of pages: 168
Cover: Clive Dalkins
By the same author:
Pardon my Boots
Waiting for the Storm Bird
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published: 2014
Tony Hannen put the glass of scotch and dry on the table in front of the woman
and slid back into his own seat. Had she looked up at that moment, Cathy Roberts
would have seen him glance quickly down at his watch. It was a cheap one and he
intended getting a good one soon, but it had to do in the meantime and told him
that he had already wasted an hour, and good money, to no advantage. This was
the third time he had taken her out, if going to the pub could be called that.
She liked scotch, which was expensive, and was costing him money he could ill
afford on the pittance Ralph Grey was paying him at the service station. He
would give it one more evening then give the game away. Or this particular game
anyway. There were always others, but probably not too many in a one-horse town
He drank some beer,
put the glass back on the table and leaned back in his seat.
So, work tomorrow?
he asked casually.
Friday, yes, clean
up a bit for the weekend. Cathy smiled at him. She was much older than he,
probably well over thirty, he thought, thin and pale faced with frizzy,
The house must be a
lot to look after. Its a fair size, I suppose? He was giving her a lead but he
must be careful, he had asked her that before. She did not seem to notice.
Big enough, she
said. Theres plenty of work to be done, I can tell you. Not that I mind that,
its what Im paid for. She laughed.
Isnt there anyone
to help you? Tony sounded concerned.
No, Mrs Linton
doesnt do much except cook for herself. Lest this should sound critical Cathy
added, Sometimes she does a bit, but why should she? Shes getting old and
hasnt been too well lately. Theres an old guy comes to mow and do a bit of
gardening once a week, sometimes twice if it needs it.
Tony pushed his glass
around on its coaster. He did not look at her. Some of those old girls have got
a ton of stuff. he said slowly. All of its got to be cleaned, I suppose, like
silver. God, whod have silver. More trouble that its worth, I bet. He emptied
the rest of the beer into his glass and watched the froth rise.
Cathy picked up her
glass and took a sip. Silver? she said, Dont mention it! Bits and pieces
everywhere. And pictures! Youve never seen so many. Lucky I dont have to do
anything to them, only do the frames with a feather duster once in a while.
Old house, is it? I
mean, like old timber doors and so on?
Mm, its pretty old,
I should think. Nothing to look at from the outside, but big rooms and high
ceilings. Plenty of cobwebs.
I wish I could see
it; it would be interesting. I like those old places, Tony said cautiously. I
remember when I was a kid, visiting my grandmother, she had a huge old house.
He decided to embroider a bit. Out in the bush it was, miles from anywhere.
Plenty of horses and cattle. Actually, he could not remember his grandmother,
who died when he was a small boy and, in any case, had lived in a small terrace
house in Sydney.
Cathy drank the last
of her scotch and dry and put down the glass. She reached for her handbag and
Well, Id better go.
Ive got to be up early in the morning. Thanks for the drink.
Have one for the
road? Tony asked quickly. It would take all the cash he had on him but might be
Cathy smiled at him.
No, really, thanks all the same. Perhaps another time. She hoisted the strap
of her old black bag onto her shoulder.
Ok. Ill run you
home. Tony followed her outside.
I can walk, Cathy
said, its not very far.
No, come on. Tony
unlocked his old brown van and opened the passenger side door for her before
going round and getting into the drivers seat. He hoped no coppers were around
as he knew he was over the limit. Better go the back way. He knew where Cathy
lived as he had taken her home once before. She had a flat in an old house on
the outskirts of town. They covered the short distance in silence. When they
pulled up in front of the house Cathy hesitated then asked Tony if he would like
to come in for some coffee.
No, thanks. He
spoke shortly. He had bought drinks he could not really afford and had got
nowhere. Ill give you a ring sometime.
Cathy did not have a
phone but there was one in the hall which she could use, but seldom did. She got
out of the van and closed the door. She was really quite relieved that Tony did
not want to come in, but on the other hand she sensed that he was becoming bored
with her company and might not ask her out again. She wanted to retain his
interest as he was the only person she really knew in Elderston. There was one
offer she could make that might please him. She bent to the open car window.
Tell you what, she
said, if youd really be interested to see the house, pick me up in the
morning. Ill put my bike in the back of the van.
Tony was stunned. He
had been angling for this all evening and at last she had asked.
What about the old
Dont call her
that, Cathy said sharply. I wouldnt have said it if she was going to be
there, would I? She lowered her voice. She goes to Mt Archer on Fridays to see
her sister. Shes in a retirement home there. She has to leave before nine as
she likes to be home by lunchtime.
Tony tried not to
seem too eager. Ok, he said casually. What time do you go?
eleven-thirty, Mondays and Fridays, Cathy said. You can have a look at the
place and then leave. But what about your work?
No problem. Im only
doing three days a week at present, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. He was,
in fact, supposed to go five days a week, but had no hesitation in taking a day
off when it suited him..
Thats ok. Then come
about a quarter to nine. Dont be late.
Tony drove home,
hardly able to believe his luck.. He remembered when he first heard Mrs Lintons
name. He had been working at the service station for only a few weeks when a
white hatchback had pulled in to the bowsers. An elderly woman got out to talk
to Ralph Grey while he filled the car. Grey was unusually affable and lifted the
bonnet to check the oil and water, chatting as he did so. When the woman had
driven away Tony asked who she was.
A nice lady, Mrs
Linton, Ralph replied. She always comes here for fuel, or if she has any
trouble with the car. You wouldnt think it but shes got plenty of money. Her
old man made a mint and never parted with a brass razoo from what I hear.
Another car drove in
and he walked back into the office, leaving Tony to deal with it. Tony got on
with his work, thinking hard. He had heard the name Linton somewhere and only
recently but for the life of him could not remember when. Later on it came to
him. It was mentioned by the woman in the park about a month ago. She was
sitting by herself on a bench and he sat down at the other end to eat his
lunchtime sandwich. After a short silence he looked at her and passed the usual
sort of remark about the weather. They started chatting and the woman told him
that she had lived and worked in Elderston for about five years. When Tony asked
her where she worked she said that she did housework for a Mrs Linton and also
did a bit of sewing. He had not seen her since, but Ralphs remarks made him
think that perhaps it might be worth trying to renew the acquaintance.
Tony thought the
chances were slight but he started going to the park in his lunch break. By the
end of the second week he was prepared to give up, he would just give it a few
more days. It didnt really matter anyway. The next day he saw her sitting in
the same place smoking a cigarette. It was easy to take things from there.
They exchanged names.
Although Cathy was reserved by nature she was pleased to have someone so nice to
chat to. Her marriage had broken up more than six years ago and there were no
children. She knew that she was not in the least bit attractive and was
surprised and flattered when Tony asked her to meet him for a drink after work,
especially as he looked a good deal younger than her thirty-two years. He was
kind and friendly, fair-haired with rather deep set blue eyes. She barely
hesitated before accepting his offer.
Tony made all the
running and asked her out a few times. To her quiet pleasure he did not seem to
mind that she was older. Certainly he did not keep glancing at other women when
they were at the pub. She felt comfortable with him. He was interested in her
and where she worked. Young men were not usually so curious about domestic