Tag Archives: Detective Fiction

Dear Reader #43

Dear Reader,

My personal top ten this week with Ann’s War proving popular. This mini series has greatly exceeded my expectations.

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https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Howe/e/B00OK7E24E/

April 1st was Sam’s birthday. I write the stories in ‘real time’ so Sam has a real age, thirty-seven, although believe me she still looks twenty-seven and in terms of attitude to life she’ll always be seventeen 😉

I‘ve been writing about Sam for six years and have enjoyed every minute. Sam is a writer’s dream, always full of stories.

At the moment, I’m storyboarding Looking for Rosanna Mee, book seventeen in the series, and have many more stories planned.

Happy Birthday, Sam! 

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Published today, Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine April 2020. As ever, there are some great articles and features included this month. Read or download your copy FREE 🙂

My latest article for the Seaside News

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To date, Imprint Digital have printed all my books. I’m delighted with the quality of their printing and it’s great to see that even in difficult times they are proceeding with the expansion of their printing plant, pictured here.

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My Imprint Digital paperbacks are available from my website at special reduced prices for visitors to my website store.

https://hannah-howe.com/mystore/

This lyric by Al Stewart could serve as a soundtrack to one of the chapters in my Spanish Civil War Saga, The Olive Tree: Roots.

While traveling northwards on a back country lane

I came on the village where first I grew

And stopped to climb up the hill once again

Looking down from the tracks to the gray slate roofs

I watched the village moving as the day went slowly by

In the fields we lay here, my very first love and I

Under timeless arcadian skies

Under timeless arcadian skies

The old canal lies sleeping under the sky

The barges are gone to a lost decade

On overgrown banks here, lovers’ footsteps went by

Long before ever the roads were made

And in our turn we passed here and carved our names on trees

As the days washed by like waves of an endless sea

Under timeless arcadian skies

Under timeless arcadian skies

Time runs through your fingers

You never hold it at all till it’s gone

Some fragments just linger with you

Like snow in the spring hanging on

I left the village behind in the night

To fade like a sail on the darkening seas

The shifts and changes in the patterns of life

Will weather it more than the centuries

And in another village, in a far off foreign land

The new day breaks out opening up its hand

And the sun has the moon in his eyes

As he wanders the timeless skies

As part of their psychological assessment, the would-be agents at the SOE training school were shown Rorschach‘s inkblots, including card nine, the card featured here. Most of the students interpreted this image as dragons, which coincidentally is my interpretation.

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Harry Rée is one of the inspirations for Guy Samson, my character in Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, therefore I was delighted to see that Harry’s son, Jonathan, has edited his father’s memoirs and published them recently.

I’m looking forward to reading this book 🙂

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This is exciting, for today at least Operation Locksmith is #1 in France, outselling James Patterson 🙂

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Operation Locksmith is now available for pre-order.

“I understand that you wish to return to France,” the man behind the mahogany desk said.

“That’s correct,” I said.

“Your motivation?” he asked, smoothing the corners of his moustache.

“To do my bit for the war effort,” I said, “to defeat the Nazis and to discover what’s happened to my husband.”

“It would be extremely risky,” the officious-looking man said, “suicidal even, for a lone woman to undertake such a venture. However, there is an alternative.”

“Alternative?” I frowned.

“Yes. We’ll parachute you in, as one of our people. Of course, you’d have to undertake training first. Rigorous training. Top secret training. If you fail, I’m afraid it will mean a spell in the cooler, possibly until the war is over.”

“The cooler?”

“But I trust it won’t come to that,” he said, ignoring my question. “When can you start?”

I began immediately. And during my training I met two people who would radically reshape my life – Guy Samson and Mimi Duchamp. I also discovered secrets about myself, abilities beyond my imagination. However, as the training heated up so the situations became all too real, until they reached a point where I had to kill, or be killed.

EVE'S WAR OPERATION LOCKSMITH MASTER

Women of Courage Heroines of SOE will continue next week, but this week I present Men of Courage Heroes of SOE 

Harry Alfred Rée was born on 15 October 1914. An educationalist, he was regarded by historian M.R.D. Foot as one of the best male SOE agents.

The son of Dr. Alfred Rée, a chemist who was from a Danish Jewish family, and Lavinia Elisabeth Dimmick, Harry Rée was a conscientious objector, ordered to work for the National Fire Service. However, in 1941 he re-registered for military service and was called up into the army. Later, he volunteered for the SOE. 

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In April 1943, as a Captain, and with the code name César, Harry parachuted into France to join the Acrobat Network. He argued against the RAF bombing targets in France because it turned public opinion against the Allies. Instead, he suggested that SOE agents should organise effective sabotage of factories on the ground. 

Harry convinced the director of a Peugeot factory at Sochaux to cooperate with the SOE. The director, a member of the Resistance, not only assisted in the sabotage, but also shared tactical information on Wehrmacht projects, including the V1 rocket. Due to this action, the RAF did not bomb the factory, saving many lives.

The Nazis tried to capture Harry. Indeed, he escaped a Feldgendarmerie group after being shot four times, swam across a river and crawled through a forest to reach Switzerland. In May 1944 he returned to Britain. 

Shortly after the war, Harry starred alongside fellow agent Jacqueline Nearne in the film Now it Can be Told (aka School for Danger), produced by the RAF Film Unit, which told the story of SOE’s activities in France.

In 1940, Harry married Hetty Vine. They had three children, the first of whom was born while Harry was in France.

Harry died in 1991.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

P.S. Apologies if the Issuu links do not load and for any formatting errors. This is entirely the fault of WordPress who, once again, have undated their platform at the expense of their customers. WordPress’ ‘improvements’ continue to make blogging and website management more difficult. When I joined them they were excellent, but now they provide a second-rate service.

Dear Reader #42

Dear Reader,

My personal top ten this week.

My publishing schedule for 2020

*March: Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen

*June: The Olive Tree: Roots, A Spanish Civil War Saga

*June: Operation Zigzag, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE

*August: Operation Locksmith, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE

*September: Looking for Rosanna Mee, Sam Smith Mystery Series book seventeen

October: Operation Broadsword, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE

November: The Olive Tree: Branches, A Spanish Civil War Saga

December: Operation Treasure, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE

* Currently available to order or pre-order

https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Howe/e/B00OK7E24E/

As mentioned above, my latest Sam Smith Mystery is now available for pre-order 🙂

Aged twenty-one, Rosanna Mee was housebound, severely agoraphobic. Yet, when Faye and I arrived at her flat to deliver legal papers we could not find her. She’d disappeared. How could a woman who had not travelled from her home in three years simply disappear? That was the first in a series of questions that led us into the world of bodybuilding, fraud and murder.

Meanwhile, the kaleidoscope of my life continued to change. As the picture settled I discovered that I was saying goodbye to a friend, hello to a new office and facing a development that would totally transform my personal life.

https://books2read.com/u/banLVv

Sam has new readers, in Peru 🙂

Pictured, Cusco, capital of the Incan Empire

My merchandiser produced a Hannah Howe calendar. This is the image for March, the Rakotz bridge in Kromlau, Germany.

Andre Hue is one of the inspirations for Guy Samson, my male SOE agent in Eve’s War. Andre was born a few miles from my home in Wales to a Welsh mother and French father. An interesting fact about Andre’s parents is when they met and married Andre’s mother, Caroline Hunter, could not speak French while his father, also Andre, could not speak English. Obviously, they communicated through the greatest universal language of all, love.

This picture was taken from Andre’s fake ID card issued by the SOE in June 1944

I managed to get hold of a ‘top secret’ document from 1944 that details the Special Operations Executive’s contribution to Operation Overlord. I will be using these details in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series.

I have a wealth of archive material for this series. However, it’s estimated that 85% of the SOE’s records were destroyed in a suspicious fire and there is speculation that that fire was started deliberately so that the records would be forever hidden from the public’s gaze.

Local views of Sger beach this week

Women of Courage Heroines of SOE 

Yvonne Cormeau, born Beatrice Yvonne Biesterfeld on 18 December 1909, served the SOE as a wireless operator for the Wheelwright network under the code name Annette. She operated in southwestern France from August 1943 until the liberation of France in September 1944. Yvonne was an unusual SOE agent in that she was a mother.

The SOE acclaimed Yvonne for the quality and quantity of her wireless transmissions. Wireless operators were vulnerable to detection and capture, often within weeks of landing. Nevertheless, she performed her duties with great courage and skill for over a year.

Yvonne Cormeau

Educated in Belgium and Scotland, Yvonne was living in London in 1937 when she married Charles Emile Cormeau, a chartered accountant. Charles enlisted in the Rifle Brigade and, in 1940, was wounded in France. Tragically, he was killed shortly after his return to London when the Nazis bombed his home. Yvonne survived the bombing when a bathtub fell over her and protected her head. However, her unborn baby did not survive.

Yvonne sent her two-year-old daughter Yvette into the countryside for her own safety. Then she decided to “take her husband’s place in the Armed Forces”. She joined the WAAF as an administrator in November 1941. From there the SOE recruited her to train as a wireless operator. After much agonising and fearing that she might make her daughter an orphan, she joined the organisation on 15 February 1943. 

With Yvette in a convent, where she remained until she was five, Yvonne parachuted into France, arriving on 23 August 1943. In common with many agents, she declined to take a cyanide pill with her to commit suicide if captured. The SOE issued her with a .22 revolver, but she did not carry the firearm because discovery of a weapon could lead to instant execution.

Wireless operators transmitted an average of twelve words per minute in Morse code. However, Yvonne averaged twenty words per minute. This meant she was a very talented “pianist”, SOE slang for wireless operators.

Yvonne also worked as a courier, cycling 50 kilometres on regular occasions. As a “district nurse” Yvonne travelled the countryside avoiding the Nazis and the dreaded Milice, a radical and brutal branch of the French police.

A “wanted” poster in Yvonne’s neighbourhood offered an accurate description of her appearance, heightening the danger. On one occasion, the Nazis stopped her at gunpoint at a roadblock. Eventually, they accepted her false papers and her story, passing her wireless equipment off as an X-ray machine.

M.R.D. Foot, the official historian of the SOE said of Yvonne, “She was a perfectly unobtrusive and secure craftswoman. She broke one of the strictest rules of wireless security – i.e. always keep on the move – with success: she transmitted for six consecutive months from the same house. She could see for three miles from the window where she worked, which was one safeguard; a more effective one was that there was no running water in the village, so the Germans who knew there was an English wireless operator somewhere close by never thought of looking for her there.”

Bloodstained dress and briefcase of Yvonne Cormeau on permanent display at the Imperial War Museum

Yvonne assisted in the cutting of power and telephone lines, resulting in the isolation of the Wehrmacht Group G garrison near Toulouse. In June 1944, she was shot in the leg while escaping from a Nazi attack on Castelnau, but managed to rescue her wireless. The dress she wore on that occasion and the bloodstained briefcase she carried are on permanent display at the Imperial War Museum in London along with her WAAF officer’s uniform.

After the war, Yvonne worked as a translator in the SOE section at the Foreign Office. She also became a leading organiser of veterans’ reunions. Reunited with her daughter, Yvette, she lived in London.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Authors Give Back

I’m supporting Smashwords’ Authors Give Back campaign where authors offer readers free or discounted books during this difficult time. All my books are discounted and you will also find the list of free titles here

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/hannahhowe

Dear Reader #41

Dear Reader,

My personal top ten sales in Europe this week.

A Lovely Review for Sam’s Song 

A stalker. a murder, a bevy of marginally odd-ball characters, emotion, violence, and a touch of humor and romance describe the novel.

Sam is in the process of finding herself after a troubled childhood and a brutal, failed marriage. She tries for self-confidence but it slips away when the past comes calling. She is frightened of relationships. However, in the hidden depths of her mind, she is strong. As a PI, she is determined to solve the case.

The author has a breezy style of writing, drawing her characters with a light touch. But it is also serious, intense especially. The main characters are displayed with all their quirks and peccadilloes showing.

Amazon Vine Voice, Five Stars

Published today, here’s one for the album, Snow in August is sitting alongside Dorothy L Sayers as a top thirty hot new release.

https://books2read.com/u/megq6A

From childhood, I’ve always read at least four books at once. I think the reason for this is I’m a fast reader and when I’m enjoying a book I don’t want to race to the end. 

At the moment, I’m reading over forty books at once. These books are linked to my research and most of them are chronological therefore I’m reading the timeframes that tie-in with my current stories.

The above is a preamble to say that currently I’m working on four books at once: I’m editing The Olive Tree: Roots and Eve’s War: Operation Zigzag, storyboarding Eve’s War: Operation Locksmith and developing the characters for Looking for Rosanna Mee: Sam Smith Mystery Series book seventeen. All four books will be published this year.

The Olive Tree, a Spanish Civil War Saga is about two women from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Therefore, while impoverished nurse Heini Hopkins collects clothing for the poor people of Spain, aristocratic author Naomi Parker enjoys this menu with Prince Nicolas Esteban.

This is Llancaiach Fawr Manor, a sixteenth century manor house in the heart of the Rhymney Valley. This house is the inspiration for the central location in Looking for Rosanna Mee, Sam Smith Mystery Series book seventeen. Rosanna, a young housebound woman, has disappeared. Where could she be?

The gothic atmosphere of Llancaiach Fawr is highlighted by the four ghosts who are said to haunt the house, including a man in black, a murderer who patrols the perimeter.

Mark Knopfler said that his best songs develop from two ideas that marry at an opportune moment.

I already had an idea for Stormy Weather, Sam Smith Mystery Series book eighteen, and I’ve married that to an article I read this afternoon about a sleazy politician who is exploiting vulnerable people.

Modern British society doesn’t care about its vulnerable people, but Sam does. Expect plenty of fireworks in this one.

Eve’s War Research 

A small number of SOE agents arrived in Occupied France over land while others arrived by sea. The vast majority, however, parachuted into the country. What did they take with them? Here’s a basic 24 hour survival pack.

1 packet of plain biscuits 
1 block of chocolate 
1 sachet of boiled sweets
2 blocks of tea
1 packet of sweet biscuits 1 packet of plain biscuits
1 box of matches
1 roll of toilet paper
1 packet of oatmeal
2 packets of meat broth
2 packets of chewing gum
1 packet of sugar tablets
1 tin of Spam

Agents who were met by the local Resistance often received a warm meal in a farmhouse, but those who jumped ‘blind’ into the wilderness relied on their rations.

Women of Courage Heroines of SOE

Marguerite Diana Frances ‘Peggy’ Knight was born on 19 April 1920 in Paris. She was a member of the Women’s Transport Service before joining the SOE as a courier, a role mainly performed by women.

The daughter of Captain Alfred Rex Knight and his Polish wife, the former Charlotte Beatrice Mary Ditkowski, Peggy was a perfect French speaker and this ability captured the SOE’s attention.

On 11 April 1944, Peggy began her training. The SOE rushed her through the course in two weeks during which time she completed only one practice parachute jump from a static balloon instead of the customary three or four. After training, she landed in Vichy France under the code name Nicole to work for the highly compromised and deeply divided Donkeyman network.

Following D-Day, in June and July 1944, Peggy crossed the battle lines many times, carrying intelligence messages and gathering vital information. She did this by travelling vast distances on her bicycle. She also participated in an attack upon a Nazi military convoy, firing her Sten submachine gun.

Later in 1944, Peggy narrowly escaped capture and executIon when one of her colleagues betrayed her group of resistance fighters to the Nazis. One of thirty people, Peggy fought her way out of a forest through the encirclement.

Roger Bardet, the man responsible for the betrayal, was later arrested, tried and sentenced to death as a collaborator. However, his sentence was commuted and ultimately he was released from prison in 1955.

Peggy and Eric’s wedding registration

Her missions complete, Peggy left the SOE in November 1944. In December 1944, she married Sub-Lieutenant Eric Smith of the Royal Navy and gave birth to two sons within two years. Later, she told a local newspaper that her main concern now was ‘getting enough soap during austerity to keep the family clean.’ 

Highly praised by her masters at the SOE for her bravery and commitment, Peggy settled down to a life of domesticity.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Recommended Reading #4

Spike, the Not So Nice Dinosaur by Denise McCabe

Spike the dinosaur had not always been so nice. In fact, not too long ago, Spike was a bit of a mean dinosaur. He didn’t like to share, didn’t understand honesty and didn’t know how to say he was sorry. He loved eating the other dinosaur’s sandwiches. But that was before Mike, the microraptor, showed him what kindness was and how he too could learn to get along and be the good dinosaur friend. Activities included.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

Pearseus Bundle: The Complete Pearseus Sci-fi/Fantasy Series by Nicholas C. Rossis
Ancient Greece—in space

Could you save the woman who killed your son?

Combining fantasy with science fiction, Pearseus is filled with passion, warfare, and betrayal. Described as “ancient Greece in space,” it gives readers who want a different kind of fantasy an exciting new series to devour.

Terrified of an ominous prophecy and spurred on by a shadowy advisor, a cruel ruler sends the young son of her favorite General to be executed. Soon, however, she must beg the grieving father to save the country from an invading army. Now, the General faces a stark choice between revenge and honoring his vows, unaware that his son’s fate and that of the entire planet are inextricably linked.

This bundle includes all books from the best-selling sci-fi fantasy series, voted as one of the 100 Indie books you should read before you die, plus bonus material.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

The Vinyl Detective by Andrew Cartmel

He is a record collector -a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. His business card describes him as the “Vinyl Detective” and some people take this more literally than others. Like the beautiful, mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording on behalf of an extremely wealthy, yet shadowy, client. So begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all…

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

So, You Say I Can’t Vote! Frances Connelly: The working-class woman’s route to the vote by Sheena Macleod

Women were granted the legal right to vote in Parliamentary elections in the UK in 1918. This right, however, extended only to property-owning, renting or university educated women over the age of thirty.

Seven years before this, Frances Connelly, a working woman walked past suffragists protesting outside the polling station in Yeovil, England, to cast her vote in an election. Her vote, and others like it, helped to keep the question in people’s minds — If one woman can vote, why not all?

Frances Connelly’s name is now largely unknown or forgotten. Her story is told here within the context of other women who voted in England before 1918, the struggles and complexities of the times in which these people lived and the contributions made by working-class women to women’s suffrage.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

Crafting With Lacey by Lacey Lane

Want to create crafts but need ideas and a plan? Do you have ten thumbs? Let Lacey guide you to crafting success. Learn how to make candle holders, jewellery, childrens’ play things, storage solutions, decorations for your house and much more. Simple, beautiful, and practical crafts are just one click away.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

Recommended Reading #2

Recommended Reading, books that have captured my interest and authors I admire.

Sparky by Millie Slavidou

Sparky is a newly-hatched dragon with a problem: he can’t breathe fire. Not wanting to stand out from all the other dragons, he leaves the nest and sets off on an adventurous journey to solve his problem. Finally, he meets Nicky, who is determined to help him on his quest to find the secret of fire.

Will Sparky ever discover how to breathe fire?

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

Promised Land by Robert B Parker

If you like my Sam Smith Mystery Series then you will enjoy Robert B Parker’s Spenser series. Promised Land is book four in the series and offers a good insight into all the main characters at their best.

Harvey Shepard’s wife has run away and private detective Spenser has been hired to find her. A seemingly easy mission, but there may be more to this case than meets the eye.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village by Ronesa Aveela

The day fire and ice erupt from the sky, everything changes forever for twelve-year-old Theo. He discovers that dragons are real when Lamia, a three-headed monster, kidnaps his sister. A witch and a talking magpie help him open the portal to Dragon Village, a land he knows only from myth, a place filled with terrifying creatures. A young woodland nymph befriends him when he arrives. He must learn to trust his instincts as he searches for a way to defeat Lamia before the dragon sacrifices his sister. In his journey, he uncovers secrets that reveal that only he can save the mystical land.

In this book, you will discover some of the terrifying creatures from Bulgarian and Slavic mythology. Some you may know by other names: Samodivi are Veelas from Harry Potter fame, only here they’re shown as supernatural creatures of the forest.
Baba Yaga, Harpies, and other creatures find their way into these pages, as well as the dreaded Lamia.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

Tangwstyl by Mansel Jones

Tangwstyl is a story of love and murder, of loyalty and betrayal. Set in the medieval town of Kenfig in the year 1399, the story centres on a prophecy made by Merlin and the birth of a girl, named Tangwstyl. Based on historical fact, Tangwstyl tells the story of King Richard and a plot to assassinate him, of Owain Glyn Dwr and his struggle for personal and national justice, and of the medieval Church and its desire to suppress all forms of heresy. Tangwstyl also tells the story of the common men and women of Kenfig, ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events, events that would alter long held beliefs and reshape lives.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

The Curate Barley Mysteries by T E Hodden

Griffin Barley is a friendly local Vicar, the curate of an inner city church, in a troubled parish. His mentor wants him to find a wife, his sister wants him to find a life, and trouble just keeps finding him. These are the adventures of a sleuthing priest, who has no desire to keep finding mysteries.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

A Man Walks Into a Bar

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I was sipping a drink, researching my latest Sam Smith mystery when a man walked into the bar. He looked distressed. 

“Quick,” he said to the barman, “I need a glass of water.”

With a quizzical look on his face, the barman poured water into a glass. The man grabbed the glass, gulped the water then ran to the rest room.

Two minutes later, the man returned, still looking distressed. “Nope,” he said, “that didn’t work. I’ll have a Bacardi and lemon.”

The man sipped his Bacardi then chewed on the lemon. With a pained expression on his face, he ran to the rest room only to return two minutes later.

“Nope,” he said, “that didn’t work either. I need a radical solution.”

Then, to gasps from the clientele, the man produced a gun and handed the weapon to the barman. “Shoot me,” the man said.

“You must be crazy,” the barman said. “I’m not touching that gun.”

“You, lady,” the man said to me, “shoot me.”

Of course, by now I’d twigged what was happening so, nonchalantly, I placed the gun in my hand. I raised my arm, pointed the barrel at the man’s head and eased my finger against the trigger. Before I could squeeze the trigger, the man sighed and walked out of the bar.

“Phew,” the barman said. “What was that all about?”

“Didn’t you notice?” I asked, sliding the gun across the bar. “The man had hiccups.” 😀