A case for Harry Walthenson PI, episode by episode

How thrilled Harry Walthenson, Private Detective, had been to see his name painted on the translucent glass window in the door to his office.

Located in Gramercy Park, in an old building full of atmosphere, he had a space renovated to resemble that of Spade and Archer in a scene right out of the Maltese Falcon.

His desk had an antique phone like those used in the 1930s, and a lamp that cast eerie shadows at night.  Along one wall was a couch, his bed for more nights than he wanted to remember, and on the other a filing cabinet, waiting for the big case files.

Up till now it had been missing cats and dogs.

Then, everything changed…

Starts at episode 1 – The Wrong Place, The Wrong Time


The latest episode: Episode 79 – Angela decides to give some information



In a word: Incline

When you first think of this word, it is with a slippery slope in mind.

I’ve been on a few of those in my time.

And while we’re on the subject, those inclines measured in degrees are very important if you want a train to get up and down the side of a mountain.

For the train, that’s an incline plane, the point where traction alone won’t get the iron horse up the hill.

Did I say ‘Iron Horse’?  Sorry, regressed there, back to the mid-1800s in the American West for a moment.

It’s not that important when it comes to trucks and cars, and less so if you like four-wheel driving; getting up near vertical mountainsides often present a welcome challenge to the true enthusiast

But for the rest of us, not so much if you find yourself sliding in reverse uncontrollably into the bay.  I’m sure it’s happened more than once.


Are you inclined to go?

A very different sort of incline, ie to be disposed towards an attitude or desire.

An inclination, maybe, not to go four wheel driving?

There is another, probably more obscure use of the word incline, and that relates to an elevated geological formation.  Not the sort of reference that crops up in everyday conversation at the coffee shop.

But, you never know.  Try it next time you have coffee and see what happens.

“One Last Look”, nothing is what it seems

A single event can have enormous consequences.

A single event driven by fate, after Ben told his wife Charlotte he would be late home one night, he left early, and by chance discovers his wife having dinner in their favourite restaurant with another man.

A single event where it could be said Ben was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Who was this man?  Why was she having dinner with him?

A simple truth to explain the single event was all Ben required.  Instead, Charlotte told him a lie.

A single event that forces Ben to question everything he thought he knew about his wife, and the people who are around her.

After a near death experience and forced retirement into a world he is unfamiliar with, Ben finds himself once again drawn back into that life of lies, violence, and intrigue.

From London to a small village in Tuscany, little by little Ben discovers who the woman he married is, and the real reason why fate had brought them together.



I’ve always wanted to go on a Treasure Hunt – Part 12

Here’s the thing…

Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.

I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.

But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.

Once again there’s a new instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.


Feeling a little miffed at Boggs’ dismissal, I decided to go on my own fact-finding mission. 

Of course, it depended a lot on whether the Cossatino’s still hung out at the same bar, and whether I’d get a foot in the door.

I was going to talk to Nadia, or at least try to.

The Lantern Inn was about as far from the image the name threw up, it was more a place where respectable people wouldn’t be caught dead in.

And, as I recall, a few had.  Seemingly respectable people anyway.

It was the place to go if you were looking for three things, not necessarily all at once, trouble, girls, and drugs.  Soggy, a friend of Boggs and I, had always looked older than his age and was able to get into places like the Lantern Inn, mainly to buy us beer, and we would go down to the beach and drink it before going home.

When I found a spot to keep an eye on the place and assess whether it was safe or not to go in, now I was old enough, I saw old man Gattle, Soggy’s foster father stagger out, on his way home.  It brought back memories of Joel, Soggy’s real name.

Soggy got his name because he was always falling in the water, whether it was a pool or the ocean, and one day, after too many beers, he fell in and didn’t come back up.  Boggs and I almost finished up in jail for that, since we were with him, but there was no way we could rescue him as it was in a spot where there was often a rip, and he had been carried away before we could get to him.

And, the body was never recovered.  I thought, at the time, he may have jumped in, because his life with foster parents was no fairy tale, and he had suffered.  Of course, those foster parents were friends with the Benderby’s so they were never held to account.

It would be easy to lie in wait in a dark alley and simply hit him over the head with a four by two, but I doubt it would make me feel any better.

I watched him stagger and fall several times before I looked back at the Inn.  In days past, the patrons often spilled out onto the sidewalk where there used to be tables and chairs.  Now, it was just the Inn, and it didn’t look like many people were there.

Had it changed from a den of iniquity to something more respectable?

A large truck, an F350 by the look of it, stopped outside the front entrance, the passenger door opened and what looked like Nadia, or another Amazonian woman, got out.  She spoke to the driver, slammed the door, and the truck left.

The light over the door shone on her face, yes, it was a woman, and yes, it was Nadia.  By herself?  Was that Vince who dropped her off, or Willy, her younger brother, and why didn’t they join her?

I guess I was not going to get any answers from where I was sitting.

Time to make my first foray into the place my mother always told me never to step foot in.

© Charles Heath 2019

“The Things We Do For Love” – Coming soon

Is love the metaphorical equivalent to ‘walking the plank’; a dive into uncharted waters?

For Henry the only romance he was interested in was a life at sea, and when away from it, he strived to find sanctuary from his family and perhaps life itself.  It takes him to a small village by the sea, s place he never expected to find another just like him, Michelle, whom he soon discovers is as mysterious as she is beautiful.

Henry had long since given up the notion of finding romance, and Michelle couldn’t get involved for reasons she could never explain, but in the end both acknowledge that something happened the moment they first met.  

Plans were made, plans were revised, and hopes were shattered.

A chance encounter causes Michelle’s past to catch up with her, and whatever hope she had of having a normal life with Henry, or anyone else, is gone.  To keep him alive she has to destroy her blossoming relationship, an act that breaks her heart and shatters his.

But can love conquer all?

It takes a few words of encouragement from an unlikely source to send Henry and his friend Radly on an odyssey into the darkest corners of the red light district in a race against time to find and rescue the woman he finally realizes is the love of his life.

The cover, at the moment, looks like this:


Conversations with my cat – 36


This is Chester.  He’s still the same grumpy cat I left 12 days ago.

He hasn’t even had the courtesy to ask how the holiday was.

But, despite his surliness, I’m happy to tell him all about it.

And, I know he’s listening, even when he’s pretending not to.  After 16 years, he’s losing his edge.


China for the uninitiated.

The cats are different.  Met one, just like you, except it had a different face.  No, it didn’t speak Chinese, but then neither do I so it could have been saying anything and I wouldn’t know.

But the angry face, yep, just like yours.

We climbed up a wall, much the same as you drive me up the wall, but these steps are steeper and not all the same height.

We visited statues, and no, they didn’t speak, they were made of terracotta.  No, you have no idea what terracotta is, and neither do I though I suspect it’s some form of clay to begin with.

And for some odd reason the emperor wanted to kill all the workers to keep his statues a secret and look how that turned out, and few acres that make up a huge jigsaw puzzle.  Perhaps he would have more luck rounding up the cats and making statues out of them.

Ah, now I have his attention.

No, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.  Boring stuff, you know, a few high-speed train rides, boring museums that had stuff thousands of years old, restaurants that didn’t serve cat food, hotels that would barely fit a cat (no I didn’t try swinging one as a measurement guide), and it was hot.  And cars, you would not survive longer than two minutes on one of their roads.

You try dodging 4.8 million cars.

And those silent assassins, the electric scooters driven by madmen who stop for nothing.

OK, you can stop looking for the tyre marks; I was quick enough to get out of the way.

It’s the end of the month … again

How quickly time flies, although I have to say I spent 12 of those May days in China or what could only be described as a whirlwind tour.

Did I get any inspiration?  Well, I have to say I was gobsmacked on more than one occasion, but yes, there was ample material that I could, and will, eventually, use.

And, yes, I did start another story, but I didn’t get too much done because the others were impinging on my thoughts.


The treasure hunt continues, but our hero is starting to obsess with Nadia.  Who is Nadia, well, if you don’t know, you will have to go and read

url – http://bit.ly/2UNl3q6

Then there’s the what happens after the action-packed start, what I call the desert story, our hero is now being taken back to a past secret mission.  Obviously, someone wants to know something, it’s just working out who that someone is to recognise the significance.

No, torture’s not on the table yet

url – http://bit.ly/2WwJnhx

Then there’s the surveillance gig, one that got caught up in building demolition, no, sorry, a building that was blown up by some over-enthusiastic bank robbers.  Our man on the spot is now looking for his target or is it the other way around

You be the judge, url – http://bit.ly/2VQkdJm

Back at the Castello di Briolio, man and dog got separated, at least the dog had the good sense to get away, and our hero is languishing in the cells.  Well, all that’s about to change

url – http://bit.ly/2YLaE0i

I’m working on some more ‘a picture paints a thousand words, or less’ posts, with another five due soon.

The reason, you ask why I’m working on so many storylines at once, well, it seems my mother has dementia, and I’m trying to avoid it by overworking my brain.  The problem is I’m getting on in years, so anything can happen.  I just hope it’s the ability to write more episodes for these stories.

With that, don’t forget to keep up with Walthenson, P.I.

Read the latest episode here – url – http://bit.ly/2JKiwvJ

And be on the lookout for his next case.

As for everything else, sorry, there’s no time left.

Until next month…

Travel is part of the story – Greve in Chianti, a perfect setting for a story

When we decided we were going to stay in Tuscany for a few days it was necessary to select a central place to stay.

What I researched first before selecting what would be a central location, was tours.  I considered doing a cooking tour but these turned out to be quite expensive so we decided to look at other types of tours.

Bus tours went out of Florence so our initial intention was to stay there.  We’d been there before and stayed at the Hotel Brunelleschi and loved it.  It is perfectly situated in Florence, especially for discovering the city by foot.

Then I found an interesting tour company, Very Tuscany Tours, run by Sara and Andrea, two people who specialize in showing visitors the Tuscany area and I thought; what could be better than tour guides with local knowledge?

So began an exchange of emails, the upshot being that it would cost less if we stayed in Greve.  On that basis, we booked two personalized tours so we could see notable landmarks, scenery, a number of wineries, and sample the real food of Italy.

The tours fulfilled our expectations, and then some.

But back to Greve in Chianti.

We booked an apartment at Antica Pastifico, an old converted pasta factory, a room in fact with a name.  Ours was called ‘Iris’ located on the first floor of the yellow pasta factory.

It was the middle of June and summer so the days were very hot and the evenings were cool and one night it rained.  It was beautiful to watch the raindrops on the terracotta tiles, and take in the aroma of the rain interacting with nature through open windows, and feel the gentle breeze in your face.

It was equally delightful in the morning, to look out over the garden and take in the early morning coolness and scent of the flowers whilst getting ready for the day.

There was a church, The Santa Croce church, at the top of the Piazza Matteotti which we could see from our apartment, and every morning at 8:00 am the bells would sound, making it a much more effective of being woken up than the usual conventional means.  Sadly we never got to visit the church.

Where the apartments were situated it was a five minute walk to the shops and a particular coffee shop where we went every morning for coffee and cake.

A walk on the other side of the square took us past a bakery where every morning the aroma of newly baked bread pulled you in.  There’s something about Italian bread …

Further around was a butcher shop, Antica Marcelleria Falorni, with an incredible collection of meat, small goods and cheese that made selection almost impossible.

Suffice to say our diet mostly consisted of wine, cheese, salami and bread.  It was also served at all the wineries we visited with their wine tastings.  One of the interesting facts is how good the inexpensive wine is and it was not difficult overindulge.

From our visits to several wineries we learned a great deal about the Sangiovese grape and the wine made from these grapes.  Apparently only a small group of wineries can market their wines as Chianti and to prove it is authentic the label has a distinctive cockerel motive on its label.  There is the Chianti Classico and the Chianti Classico Riserva that interested us the most.

There were several restaurants on the piazza and one in particular had my favorite version of pasta, wild boar.  Although the apartment had a full kitchen it was easier to go out and eat rather than cook for ourselves.  We did attempt to cook breakfast several mornings after finding a type of supermarket, Coops, tucked away several streets from the Piazza.

But as for the location of Greve in Chianti, it is very central to all the major tourist spots such as Siena, San Gimignano, and Arezzo.  We visited both Siena and San Gimignano a second time this trip having stayed for three days in San Gimignano as our central base the last time we were in Tuscany.

The only downside to the latest visit was that it was not long enough but isn’t that true of any holiday?

Are you confused yet: For, Four, Fore

Can it be more confusing when trying to explain the word ‘for’ to those learning English as a second language, when all variations sound the same?

Let’s try…

For, a preposition if you want to get technical, well  this one is probably one of the more interesting variations, and can be used,

He was done for, meaning  there was no hope for saving his life

For he’s a jolly good fellow, though we may sing it, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true

Basically, it can be best described as,

Intended to belong with or using in connection with or suiting the purposes or needs of.


And, as a preposition, its use is endless, just look it up on the internet.

As a prefix, well, let’s not go down that path and move on,

Four, this is the easiest of all the variations as it simply represents the number

Fore, oh yeah, now we can open the can of worms, or is it Pandora’s box

The best way to describe this variation is that it can be a prefix, one that stresses the fact that something is near the front

For example,

He was standing in the foreground, which means there was a backdrop behind him, hopefully, a pretty landscape, not a rubbish dump


Then alternatively,

I heard the word ‘fore’ yelled very loudly just before the golf ball landed inches from my foot.

Another close shave, or near death experience.

I thought, and it seems incorrect, that going golfing was meant to be fun, not the equivalent of walking onto a battlefield, dodging golf balls to the frantic screams of ‘fore’.

It can also be used in a nautical sense by referring to the front and back or a ship/boat/vessel as fore for the front and aft for the back.

I doubt a captain would tell a sailor to go to the fore of the ship when he could better explain it with a bow, or just plain front, but where’s the fun in that?

“Echoes From The Past”, buried, but not deep enough

What happens when your past finally catches up with you?

Christmas is just around the corner, a time to be with family. For Will Mason, an orphan since he was fourteen, it is a time for reflection on what his life could have been, and what it could be.

Until a chance encounter brings back to life the reasons for his twenty years of self-imposed exile from a life only normal people could have. From that moment Will’s life slowly starts to unravel and it’s obvious to him it’s time to move on.

This time, however, there is more at stake.

Will has broken his number one rule, don’t get involved.

With his nemesis, Eddie Jamieson, suddenly within reach, and a blossoming relationship with an office colleague, Maria, about to change everything, Will has to make a choice. Quietly leave, or finally, make a stand.

But as Will soon discovers, when other people are involved there is going to be terrible consequences no matter what choice he makes.