Happy Sunday everyone! Today I’m welcoming the blog tour for Chris Calder’s Celeste Three Is Missing to A Knight’s Reads and I’ve got a fab guest post for you.
Many thanks to the wonder Rachel Gilbey for inviting me on the blog tour and to the author for the guest post.
The world’s first earth-orbit passenger plane, the sensational Celeste Three, takes off from its base in Arizona, also the only place where it is designed land. On a routine flight the craft disappears.
On board is Viktor Karenkov, billionaire oil magnate who has used his wealth to evade prosecution for a murder he committed years earlier. Gregory Topozian, the murdered man’s friend, has been waiting for a chance to bring Karenkov to justice. With dogged determination and considerable ingenuity, he conceives an audacious plan.
Getting the craft down in total secrecy is key. And someone has to pay the huge costs involved.
The Guest Post – Arkwright’s
Tucked away down a side alley in a sleepy rural town near where I lived in France, there is a small hardware emporium of the old-fashioned kind. Stock is displayed apparently randomly from floor to ceiling, with garden implements, tools, pots and pans and all manner of domestic paraphernalia jostling for space on the ancient wooden shelves. If you are British and of a certain age, you may know exactly what sort of retail store I mean. The shop has a French name of course, but the Brits who live nearby affectionately call it “Arkwright’s”. I made my way there once to buy a mousetrap.
The front door is half glazed and opens inwards to the melodic clang of a small bell fixed to the door frame. Presumably its purpose is to summon an attendant from the depths of the stockroom, but one can never be sure, since the normal response time is anywhere between two and five minutes when the place is empty. That isn’t often the case, but it would be quite long enough to allow a dishonest person to make off with items of displayed stock without paying. However such an event would be unthinkable in that part of France. The natives are naively, wonderfully, honest.
There are of course no security cameras, nor any labour-saving device of any kind that could be dated after the nineteen-fifties. The cash tray is a wooden drawer placed below the counter. My particular favourite is the price list; a distressed ring binder fixed to a wooden slope on top of the counter. I’m guessing there must be over a hundred separate pages, each within its own plastic sleeve.
Every single item has its price. And every item purchased is price-checked by Madame herself or by her husband, every time. It can be a time-consuming process, especially if one is in a queue of customers, patiently waiting to be served. In this shop, queuing is the norm whilst Monsieur or Madame discusses all manner of issues with a customer in front. The interaction between owner and customer is more highly valued it seems, than time.
But hey, relax. That’s France. Where else would I have been gifted the time and attention to debate the efficacy of the types of bait that could be used to load the mouse trap? And where else could I have learned that mouse traps should be baited with chocolate, not cheese.
Who Is Chris Calder?
After ten happy years of retirement in rural France, Chris Calder is back in England. He came late to writing novels, penning his first whilst incarcerated in a French hospital following cancer surgery. At the time he spoke little French. Unable to communicate effectively with the staff, he spent his time fleshing out his first novel. Five more have followed; light thrillers leavened with humour. Best of all, the cancer is now history.
Chris knows that readers of fiction expect to be diverted and entertained. He loves feedback and believes passionately that taking on board readers’ views improves what what he does. You can email him at email@example.com. Go on, he’d love to hear from you.
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