Arriving back, the following week, from a literary engagement in the South of France, Stephen Jacobs' attention was arrested by a large caption on the front page of his local newspaper which read: TWO MURDERS AND ONE SUICIDE - WIDOWER'S REVENGE.  Reading on, he discovered that the three victims of the affair were none other than James Kelly, Sharon Taylor, and Douglas Searle.  "Oh my God!" he exclaimed, as he read the stark details of the crime and the presumed circumstances surrounding its perpetration.

     He remembered the telephone call Douglas Searle had made to his Finchley address, shortly after his return from holiday with Sharon, when the caller had introduced himself as a friend of James Kelly who, in consequence of various personal circumstances in the recent past, was keen to play a practical joke on the writer.  For he had unwittingly collaborated in the crime by taking the older man into his confidence and duly furnishing him with the information he required to track Sharon down on the night she went to visit James.  He had been under the impression that Mr Searle was merely intending to embarrass and frustrate Sharon by being at James' place when she arrived.  For her hope of reconciliation with the writer would have been considerably thwarted, if not permanently undermined, by the presence of so imposing and influential a man!

     Fortunately for Stephen Jacobs, however, his latest little sadistic gamble, played at a discreet distance, had the potential of working out to his advantage.  For he had been at cross-purposes with himself for too long and would now have an opportunity to straighten things out, at last, with Jennifer Crowe, the girl he had been really interested in all along, whose loss of Sharon's friendship, following her tragic death, would be more than adequately compensated, he felt confident, by the gain of his, especially as he would play her as he had played no other woman before!



LONDON 1979 (Revised 2011)


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