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Call for Simon Shard

By Philip McCutchan

Out in the open, they find a body…

Three men, old comrades of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Cornwall’s own regiment, now merged anonymously, unterritorially, into The Light Infantry, made their way across open country.

From the former regimental depot at Bodmin the old soldiers had brought a Remembrance Day wreath, worked around the badge of the DCLI.

One of them, stopping to take a breath, gave a short laugh, staring upward as they approached the real rock climb.

Thinking of marches on patrol, back in the thirties, along the rock-strewn, bandit-ridden Khyber Pass, or sometimes sweating troop-trains hauling a brigade below the heaven-high forts of Jamrud and Ali Masjid and Landi Khotal.

There was something military, something fortress-like, about Rough Tor right enough – something to make old soldiers think a lot about their past. Not just the crows, either…

The three men find the body of a young woman lying face down and dead upon the moor, crows all about her.

The young woman was Yvette Casabon from Cherbourg, according to the letters found on her body.

They call in Simon Shard, who doesn’t much care for the case since hard drugs – thousands of pounds worth of heroin along with large amounts of money to be precise – had been found on the body.

Shard had a deep hatred for drugs. However, he had a deeper hatred for corruption…

And a number had been found on the body, too, the number of another policeman known to Shard: Hedge.

Hedge knew that Chief Super Intendent Hesseltine was no friend; there had been altercations in the past.

Hesseltine, naturally, would never step outside the law, the law was his job and his life and he was an honest and honourable man, no doubt of that.

If Hesseltine really thought the worst – then things might very well become exceedingly awkward: for a number of people knew that Hedge’s wife spent a good deal of time away from home, and that Hedge was a full-blooded man.

Simon Shard didn’t like Hedge either, didn’t like his type.

However because Hedge, taking an interest in him years ago, had helped him in his career, Shard was duly grateful and thus couldn’t go by his assumptions.

What was Yvette Casabon’s role in all of this?

How did she end up with Hedge’s number? A notoriously promiscuous man.

And how far does this tale of corruption go?

Only Simon Shard can find out…

Philip McCutchan grew up in the naval atmosphere of Portsmouth Dockyard and developed a lifetime’s interest in the sea. Military history was an early interest of his, resulting in several fiction books about the British Army and its campaigns, especially in the last 150 years. He served throughout WWII in a variety of ships, including the cruiser Vindictive, the ocean boarding vessel Largs, and the escort carrier Ravager, ending the war as a lieutenant, RNVR.

 
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