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Friday 17 November 2017

Romantic story line

By David Medcalf

I have decided to write a romance. The original plan was to produce a detective story, reflecting the taste of a would-be author whose inclinations are more Holmes & Watson than Mills & Boon. But I have experienced problems in dreaming up convincing motivation for the Colonel, to explain precisely why it was that he bludgeoned the butler to death with a glass candlestick in the drawing room.

The plot as it developed in my imagination allowed the monocled killer ample opportunity to carry out the crime while other guests enjoyed a game of croquet just a few yards away. It was appropriate too that the weapon (hefty vintage Waterford crystal, no less) was to hand on the grand piano.

However, the serving of lukewarm porridge by the victim at breakfast time on the morning of his demise scarcely provided plausible reason enough to prompt homicide, even if it was lumpy as well as under heated. It would have been far too obvious to have the butler revealed as the former batman of the Colonel back in the day when both served together in some forgotten war, though this device would have allowed scope for blackmail. After mulling this over for months without reaching any satisfactory conclusion, my mind has finally been diverted from the grisly cadaver sprawled on the lion-skin rug to toy with another plot, totally unrelated to 'Murder on the Mane' (provisional, working title).

This second tale concerns matters of the heart. It will be aimed at women readers, whom I am led to believe enjoy nothing better in their novels than a love which overcomes countless difficulties to triumph in the final chapter. I trust it is not a handicap in reaching out to the female audience that the leading character is a man, a bloke.

This fellow finds relaxed companionship early in life with a woman of his own age, with whom he shares jokes and an interest in showjumping (or some other harmless pastime, yet to be decided). As I am unpractised at writing sex scenes, and do not wish to make an embarrassing eejit of myself, the relationship will be platonic at this stage though none the less intense.

Our hero neglects to declare his affection and she moves on to marry another, so he can do no more than send her and her husband a nice wedding present. It does not improve the self-confidence of the bloke that his career has stalled and he is concerned that promotion at work appears indefinitely postponed. Under pressure from his family to find a mate, he stumbles into a mutually convenient marriage with a beautiful younger lassie who is universally admired and who delivers a couple of fine children.

The joyless union between the bloke and the lassie inevitably comes asunder, amidst much recrimination and unhappiness. And here we come to the meat of the story where she seeks solace following the break-up in a string of squalid affairs before perishing in a road accident caused by a drunk driver. Meanwhile, he reverts to the real love of his life, at last recognising feelings which lay dormant for decades to live happily ever afterwards. True romance, bound to be a bestseller.

Did I mention that the bloke's name is Charles while the lassie is called Diana?

News editors all over the western world have been dusting down their Princess Di files to mark twenty years since Ms Spencer's unfortunate death in a Paris street. As a result of the blanket coverage being given to the anniversary, I have been obliged to skip past large sections of the newspaper, while hopping between radio channels in order to avoid the deluge of royal drivel.

The press and broadcasters of the United Kingdom have some excuse for paying so much attention to a 'news' story which is two decades old but it is baffling that those in the Republic of Ireland followed suit. RTE Radio, for instance, treated early risers to a morning prayer for the day which somehow contrived to include both Diana and Mother Teresa - a more contrasting pair never drew breath.

Surely the dead princess, though wonderfully photogenic, is no candidate for sainthood while her former husband's life has heroic elements of real romance. Anyone agree?

Wexford People

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