A Conundrum is the first in a trilogy about the family who can trace their line back to the seventeenth century. They are scattered throughout the world but now, in the twenty-first century, have homogenized their financial dealings. They are like a combination of European monarchy and the Sicilian mafia. They kept the bloodlines pure and encouraged hubris in all, particularly the males. Now there is a problem-an unsanctioned murder in Australia.
The Murder He loved the early morning light and today would be a perfect day for sailing, there was a gentle breeze and although he knew Hera would not join him, his Savage Nautilus was small enough to sail on his own. At just under 20ft it was the perfect size for his use. He could and did on occasions put the boat on the trailer, and take the two girls out for a weekend trip down the coast, but mostly he sailed ‘Penelope' on their own inland lake. The lake was a combination of nature and excavations over the years. There was a river that meandered down from the hills, across the flats, through the waterhole the girls used as their own personal swimming hole then; dispersed itself into the lake. The river eventually made its way to the sea, but at this time of the year the water levels were down. There was a tendency for the lake to flood during the wet, but that hadn't happened for years now. The lake was huge almost like a small inland sea, and because it was fresh water was used by all the properties around for irrigation. There were other boats in the boathouse but not many were out during the week, and today being the first Monday of the month most of the other owners were in town at the council meeting. He never did go to the meetings and for years when he was home, spend this day sailing regardless of the weather. He knew he would have the lake almost to himself to think, plan, and dream. A time to be alone with his thoughts, this was the time he allowed himself to think back, to experience again his beautiful wife Penelope's love. He often felt that he could feel her beside him when he sailed. He missed her with an ache around his heart and in his gut that would never leave. It was three years now since her death, he knew the girls missed her also, but somehow he couldn't talk about it, he could give them no comfort perhaps because he could give himself no comfort, there was a hole inside that seemed to be growing. Today he had more mundane and pressing issues to consider. He was determined not to allow that bastard George to have any involvement in any way with his business; and he had to make sure he kept the girls away from him and his machinations. He couldn't understand how George even knew about the new contract and why he would be interested, his forte was art fraud. But the bastard was a slippery sod, so there had to be an angle somewhere. The Family were still ambiguous about his involvement in that Turner fiasco, all those years ago. James knew a few of the more conservative members of his family were still unsure of who or what to believe. George was the youngest of his Grandfathers children, and in fact was only about 5 years older than James himself just one of the problems of belonging to a family of prolific breeders. George was on first acquaintance the perfect gentleman, charming, sophisticated with a fine sense of humour. He was tall, incredibly good looking, with dark hair and a great body. But he was manipulative, totally self-centred, and with absolutely no discernible conscience. George still blamed him for his inability to allow the fraud to progress, and for him calling the authorities in. There was no way James would ever become embroiled in any of George's schemes, nor allow any one he knew to have anything to do with him. He was completely untrustworthy. Somehow he had to put a stop to whatever George was planning, so first of all he had to make contact with Justin of course. Justin would know how to deal with him. James took his mobile from his pocket; an SMS would be the easiest for a first contact. But the day was fine, the wind just right, James felt himself relaxing; the sails were set and with the wheel lightly clasped in his right hand he took a deep breath of the clean clear air, he was looking forward to several hours of sailing to rejuvenation his spirits. Relaxing in the cockpit with a beer in one hand, James thought about the immediate answer to his text message to Justin. It was disturbing, even more so than he had first envisaged, and Justin had advised caution, and to remain alert. What did that mean? He became aware of a boat with an outboard motor approaching from the shore, and someone waving to him, he brought the boat around and waited. Taking out the binoculars he scanned the occupant of the boat, no one he knew so he was not from around here. He was young and fit looking, but only the one man. Should not be a problem. It was strange though to be hailed by someone unless there was some problem at home. James waited for the small boat to come alongside, and was reaching over to take the hand held out to him, when he realised too late that the hand held a small pistol within the palm pointed at his midriff. He started to move away when the gun jerked and he felt the pellet hit him in the chest, then another and another. There had been no sound the ‘gun' was silenced. James felt his limbs becoming heavy, his thinking becoming fuzzy; there was no pain just his mind clouding he had been tranquillised. Then he was falling and managed to gasp "why?". He was on his back peering up as his assailant, he didn't recognise the young assassin bending over him. "It's nothing personal you're just in the way, but don't worry we'll look after the girls for you." James struggled frantically against the horror of those words as the darkness closed in around him.
Pamela Peacock has a degree in fine art. She has worked in a bank, in an advertising agency, and as an administrator of a theatre company. She has been an art teacher and an arts administrator. She has traveled extensively through Europe, the Middle East, and China. She now lives in the beautiful Illawarra on the south coast of New South Wales with her cat ZuZu.
I have just finished reading A Conundrum. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The story is interesting and fascinating it was very hard to put down once I started. i am looking forward to the nest book I am looking forward to the next book put out by this author. For a new author she is brilliant.