"I can't get on with this book, Hamish," she complained. "When the
first one was published, I thought I was all set. But the words won't
"Maybe you're trying too hard."
"Maybe. Let's have coffee."
Angela's first novel had been published the previous autumn. Reviews
were good, but sales were modest.
"The trouble is I am damned as a 'literary writer,'" said Angela,
"which usually means praise and no money."
"Perhaps something in the village will spark your imagination," said
Hamish, covertly shooing two of her cats off the table where they were
trying to drink the milk out of the jug.
"Like this artist fellow. Seems to be a big hit with the ladies."
"Oh, he jokes and teases them. But I can't see anyone falling for
"In a funny kind of way, there's nothing about him that gives any of
them the come-on. He's just a thoroughly nice man."
"Painting any good?"
"He's just started, but I looked his name up on the Internet. He's
considered to be a very good landscape painter. He paints pictures in
the old-fashioned way, and people are going for that. I think they're
moving away from elephant dung and unmade beds or whatever the modern
artist has been exhibiting at the Tate. I don't think he's going to
cause any dramas. Where are your animals?"
"I left them playing in the garden."
"Don't you find it odd that a dog and a wild cat should get on so
"Not really. A relief, if you ask me. If Lugs hadn't taken to the
cat, I'd need to have got rid of it."
"Be careful, Hamish. It is a wild cat, and they can be savage."
"Maybe it just got caught in a trap."
"Here's your coffee. Is Effie Garrard still around?"
"Yes. I visited her the other day and asked around about her. Patel
is selling her stuff, and so is the gift shop up at the Tommel Castle
Hotel. She does charge awfully high prices."
"Are you going to the ceilidh on Saturday?"
"I might drop in."
"You'll need a ticket. Five pounds."
"Five pounds! What on earth for?"
"The church hall needs repainting."
"I thought some of the locals would have done that for free."
"Oh, they are. But it's to raise money for repairs to the roof,
paint, and new curtains."
"And what would I be getting for five pounds?"
"A buffet supper. The Italian restaurant is doing the catering."
"That's decent of them. I'll go."
"You must be getting very bored," said Angela, putting a mug of
coffee in front of him. "No crime."
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...