Extract from The Sweet Smell of Lilies

The following is an extract from a short story called The Sweet Smell of Lilies. Phoebe is fanciful teenage with a very over-active imagination. She sees murder and intrigue wherever she goes, even in the most innocent situations. But nothing is as strange as the eventual outcome of the story. The story is written from the POV of Phoebe herself, using her voice.

But before I carry on, I had better tell you a bit about me. My name is Phoebe and I am going to be a renowned crime writer, like Agatha Christie or Dorothy L Sayers. I am working on my first novel right now.

I was born in the Cotswolds, eighteen years and eleven months ago, the only daughter of Marion and James Partridge. We were an ordinary family, just like any other with a cat, two dogs and a goldfish. Then suddenly, when I was almost five, my father vanished. I barely remember him now. He was also a spy like my uncle. One day he went on a secret trip to the city, but he never came back. No-one ever saw him again, not even my mother. He was kidnapped by the Russians. They tortured him for days on end, using thumbscrews and other instruments of medieval torture. They shone bright lights in his eyes and stuck matchsticks under his fingernails. He never talked of course. He was such a brave man….

‘Phoebe,’ my mother would say, ‘Don’t tell such stories. You know it’s not true. Your father was not a spy. He’s just another missing person now.’

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