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 70 – The Affairs of Edwina



“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.




I always wanted to go on a treasure hunt – Part 9

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 back on the treasure hunt.


Nadia Cossatino was the one girl Alex Benderby couldn’t have for obvious reasons.  The Cossatinos and the Benderby’s were sworn enemies, each running the more nefarious activities in their parts of the city.

Of the two, it was widely known if you crossed a Cossatino, then you were dead, or worse.  Nadia’s older brother Vince was the most feared kid in school, and people like Boggs and I kept well out of his way.

That being said, there was one occasion when we had been caught in the crossfire, and present, accidentally, at a showdown between Alex and Vince, over Nadia.  Alex, as he was wont to do, pushed his luck too far, and found himself on the end of an ultimatum.

Which usually meant a fight in one of the old wharf sheds.

Boggs and I just happened to be in the shed, looking for anything that might have been left behind, when the two warring parties turned up.  Vince and four members of his gang, including Nadia, arrived and Alex with several of his shortly after.

As soon as he saw Vince, Boggs bolted, leaving me like a deer staring into headlights.  I tried to hide in one of the old offices, but Nadia, not one to sit still, not probably interested in the beating Vince was going to hand Alex, came wandering in.

I prayed she wouldn’t see me.

Prayers: unanswered.

“Who is that?”  She knew someone was in the room.

I poked my head above the dusty desk.

She seemed unsurprised to find me there.  “Smidge.  That’s what Alex calls you, isn’t it?”

I shook my head.  Even she was calling me by that name.

“No, It’s Sam.”

“Smidge sounds better.  What are you doing here?  Come to see the fight?”

“No.  Just looking around, plenty of history in this old building.”

“It’s just a dump.”

“Perhaps I should go.  I doubt Vince will want any witnesses.”

“You a friend of Alex?”

I thought we went to the same school, but perhaps I was wrong.  Maybe this was Nadia’s twin.  I was going to set her straight but remembered Vince was just downstairs, and after he dealt with Alex, maybe he’d want another hapless soul to beat up.

But as usual, my mouth got the better of me.

“You know as well as I do, I avoid both Alex, Vince, and you like the plague.  I’ve seen what happens to people who simply glance in your direction.”

“So Smidge has a backbone.  And not a friend of Alex, obviously.  Good to know.  Keep your nose clean and out of matters that don’t concern you.  Leave.  You were never here.”

She was right.  I was never there.


© Charles Heath 2019



Travel is part of the story – Firenze (Florence), it’s been around a long, long time

For a writer, a place takes on a whole new meaning as we subconsciously look for locations in which parts of our stories will play out.  Of course, at the time, we have no idea what those parts of stories will be, but notes, mentally and physically, are taken for future reference.

And, unlike the usual tourist, we always see it differently.  I know I do.

Apologies now if I have misspelled any street, piazza or any other names.

The first time we arrived in Florence was by train, from Innsbruck in Austria.  We had been booked into the Hotel Brunelleschi, based on the fact it was built over part of a 12th-century monastery, it was conveniently located, and was a luxury hotel.

We took a taxi, not knowing how far it was, and found it tucked away in a street, via Sant’elisabetta, not far from Florence’s cathedral, the Duomo.  The taxi barely fitted through the streets.  First impressions, it was very old, second impression, the room we were given was amazing, with a view over the main street, and wafting up from a food shop below, the aroma of newly baked waffles.  We had to have one.

Words cannot describe how amazing it was to wake up that first morning and look out at the bright sunshine and blue sky.  We were in for a hot day, but that wasn’t going to deter the tourist in us.  Of course, after we had a great breakfast.  I particularly liked the crispy bacon.

The first place on the list to visit was the Piazza del Duomo, where the cathedral is located, and the Porta del Paradiso.  We went into the church, and also did a side trip down into the crypt.  We did not climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s cupola.  We tried the pizza, and hearing that the gelato was very expensive in the main part of the city, ventured further afield and found a gelato vendor that was inexpensive.  As the day was very hot it was a welcome relief.

The Ponte Vecchio, the bridge that crosses the Arno.  We walked to the bridge, taking in the views up and down the river before crossing to the other side, then back towards the Piazza Santa Croce.  On our most recent visit there was a football competition, Calcio Fiorentino, in progress that had taken over the whole Piazza, and during the day there was a parade where all the teams and others dressed in the historic clothing dating back to the 15th century.

The Galleria dell’Accademia was also high on the list of places to visit, and we left the hotel early as we had heard the queues are long to get in.  They were right.  We were at the end of a very, very long queue stretching back to Via delgi Alfani.  We were in the queue for about an hour and a half and it didn’t seem to move very quickly.

Then some people passing by said that we could go to the Museo Di San Marco, and purchase tickets to enter the gallery at a particular time.  We had also read or heard something similar, and, taking a risk we left the queue and went in search.  We found it at the Piazza San Marco, purchased tickets for 13:30 and had time to have lunch before turning up at the entrance for our timeslot, and sure enough, with others who had also purchased tickets, we went in.

Just out of curiosity I went back to the queue to see when the people in front of us were, and they still had an hour before gaining admission.

We saw everything that was recommended, including the famous statue of David, though I had a lot of trouble taking a photo when people kept walking in front.

The Piazza Della Signoria has a large number of statues, including another of David, the Marzocco, the symbol of Florence, Il Perseo, the fountain of Neptune, Poseidon, Perseus with the head of Medusa, and a hall of statues adjacent to the Palazzo Vecchio.

Florence is old, the roads are cobbled and narrow, and there are many trails one can follow and discover something new at the end of every twist and turn.

I have to go back, other than the fact I need a new wallet and belt made from Italian leather.  My wife loves the purses and handbags, also leather, though the scarves have only recently been added to her list of most wanted items.  I want to simply soak up the atmosphere, relax, eat the pasta and drink the endless supply of Moretti’s.


#AtoZChallenge — P is for Pad


Here is another of those three letter words that can have so many meanings that it is nigh on impossible to pin it down.

You have to use it in a sentence which all but explains it.

For instance,

A pad might be a writing pad, or a note pad, something on which you can write, notes, stories, anything really, even doodles.

I’ve got several in different sizes for different occasions, where I write down ideas as they come to me. but, I’ve yet to find a waterproof one, you know, for those ideas that come to you in the shower.

Of course, there’s always the writing on the wall…

Cats, dogs, a lot of animals have padded feet.  I’d say, for a cat, those pads would be like shock absorbers.

You can pad an expense account with false expenditure in an accounting sense, I’m sure a lot of people are tempted to do so.

I know places, where a single man might live, is called a bachelor pad.  So many men like to think they may have one, but it takes money to buy the accoutrements of seduction.

Then there’s a medical dressing, a square of gauze called a pad, usually absorbent and soaked in disinfectant to help protect and repair a wound.

Shoulder pads, for broader shoulders

Knee pads, for when crashing off a bike, a scooter, or roller blades.  Which reminds me, do people actually still use roller blades?

Shin pads for soccer, and ice hockey players

A helipad which is for helicopter landings and takeoffs, much the same as a launch pad for rockets.  Unfortunately, rockets do not generally have a tendency to land, not unless they are bombs, like the V1 and V2 rockets of WW2.

It could also be what someone does when walking around a house in socks, the man stealthily approached the thief, padding silently in his socks so he wouldn’t be heard.

And lastly,

A place for frogs to hang out, ie, the flat leaves of a water Lilly.

Any more?

I’m sure there is, just let me know.


I used to have all the time in the world

There is always a feeling of relief when you finally finish the book, after all the editing (the latest book had been revised and edited 16 times – I know, I should stop fiddling), and accepting I’ve have done all I can.

It’s like watching another child leave the nest.  There’s that hollow feeling inside.

Of course, the answer to getting over that feeling is to get on with the next book.

This time I finished two books together, so it has been more exhausting, especially with the two sets of characters and story lines.  I realize I should work on one, get that done, and then work on the other.  Sorry, I can’t do that.

Actually, I was working on the next story at the same time.

My editor, after being presented with, and finally reading through the so-called final draft, calls me in to discuss the works, simply closes her eyes and shakes her head, then tells me one character has crossed over to the other novel.

Perhaps working on two novels at the same time is not a good idea.

But all’s well that ends well, both “What Sets Us Apart”, the first in what I call my Russian trilogy, is published, and “One Last Look” the first of what may become a series, also published and are now available from Amazon.

What to do next?

Catch up on social media, which includes Twitter, where I do a little advertising, and Facebook, which I still don’t understand how it is going to work for me.

So, I’m currently working on “First Dig Two Graves”, the ‘Zoe the Assassin – Book 2’, which is all but written, and like the crazy author I am, it’s in the seventh or eighth re-edit, and another short romance novel called “The Things We Do For Love”.

But I can’t help myself, and I’m also working on parts of “Strangers We’ve Become”, the second of the Russian Trilogy.  It, too, has all but been written, and only needs a few modifications.

And yes, that is a very loose statement, ‘only a few modifications’.  That can be anything from a new chapter at the start or a whole rewrite.

Ah, the hectic life of a writer.

In between, there was a granddaughters 8th birthday, and an anniversary, so many now I’ve lost count.  Then I finally reached an age I never thought I’d get to, 65.

Moving on.

Now it seems there really is so little time, so much to do.

“The Devil You Don’t”, be careful what you wish for

John Pennington’s life is in the doldrums.  Looking for new opportunities, prevaricating about getting married, the only joy on the horizon was an upcoming visit to his grandmother in Sorrento, Italy.

Suddenly he is left at the check-in counter with a message on his phone telling him the marriage is off, and the relationship is over.

If only he hadn’t promised a friend he would do a favor for him in Rome.

At the first stop, Geneva, he has a chance encounter with Zoe, an intriguing woman who captures his imagination from the moment she boards the Savoire, and his life ventures into uncharted territory in more ways than one.

That ‘favor’ for his friend suddenly becomes a life-changing event, and when Zoe, the woman who he knows is too good to be true, reappears, danger and death follows.

Shot at, lied to, seduced, and drawn into a world where nothing is what it seems, John is dragged into an adrenaline-charged undertaking, where he may have been wiser to stay with the ‘devil you know’ rather than opt for the ‘devil you don’t’.