By Joy Martin
Can you train a horse to kill? To find out, I asked a circus trainer. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘It’s possible,’ and then he told me how to do it.
In A WRONG TO SWEETEN and its sequel A HERITAGE OF WRONG the groom, Tim-Pat, shows off these skills to Dermot O’Brien in rehearsal for a murder.
‘He threw off his heavy white shirt onto the grass so it lay, like half a body, and addressed the horse, Claisi, coaxing the animal into a trance.
‘Get him, boy – get him.’
Clasai reared to his full height, flaring his nostrils in rage.
Claisi hesitated, a huge god-horse poised on the brink of violence against the silver sky. And then the outrage. The hooves flailing, pounding in fury onto the ground where half a body lay – dead or so it seemed…Pounded into the ground, though that death did not appease the assailant. The pulveriser. The giant miller mashing…
‘Jesus Christ,’ said Dermot weakly, ‘How the hell did you train him like that?’
‘I can make Claisi do a lot of things, Master Dermot,’ Tim-Pat said, in a strange, faraway voice, ‘Useful things. He’ll be worth the money yet.’
Tim-Pat’s secret? Like the circus trainer, he had taught Claisi how to respond to different whistles.
Joy Martin was born in Limerick. A former journalist, she is the author of eight novels.
Her agents are Coombs Moylett Maclean, 120 New Kings Road, Fulham, London SW6 4LZ