Speaking in Silence
It’s done! The first draft, that is, and we have arrived at Bodmin station at 95,000 words. Now, after a brief stop, we must make the return journey to London as we embark on the rewrites and editing.
This novel turned out to be slightly different to the others, and that made the journey an interesting one. Speaking in Silence is a mystery. It takes place in Cornwall and London, it brings in two characters who have, until now, been in the background, and it is based on a newspaper report from 1891. There, the similarities with the other Larkspur Mysteries end. Don’t worry, it still contains your favourite elements, but in a different way.
The content is darker than I’ve previously dabbled with because the protagonist is a victim. He’s also the one who hardly speaks, which presented another challenge when writing. Also, the mystery isn’t written as: This is strange, how are we going to solve this? It is written so the reader asks, ‘What are they doing?’ We know ‘they’ are up to something, and we know what they want to achieve, but, hopefully, you won’t work out what it is they are doing and how they achieve it until the end. Then, in the denouement, you’re told exactly how it happened.
I expect that makes little sense, but it will all become clear in the end, and the end of the journey, I hope, will be sometimes in July. Meanwhile, here’s an unedited taster from draft one.
Outside, foxes and owls scoured the grounds for their prey, while inside, a dim light burned in the drawing room until well past two in the morning. Figures paced before the window, apparently speaking in silence as no sound escaped the casements, and they disturbed nothing and no-one. At two fifteen, a light in an upstairs bedroom came on, and three silhouettes sat at a desk with paper and pen. Another discussion began, and one wrote while the others offered ideas. A little later, one sat in a chair while another busied himself around his head with scissors and a razor, until all three were satisfied with the results of their labours.
If that wasn’t strange enough, at the back of the house, another two men came from the kitchen and crossed the yard. At two twenty-five, they lit lamps in an ancient building that had once been a barn and set to work. There was no speaking, but there were sounds; the hissing and bubbling of liquids in jars, the clank of crucibles on iron stands, and the opening and closing of heavy books. All this took place beside a light which grew increasingly discoloured, once being orange, and then red, to glow purple just before the stable clock chimed half-past three.Speaking In Silence