This is an unusual one from Rosalie Parker's new collection, Sparks from the Fire (Swan River Press). Here are no ghosts or ghouls, no menacing monsters, just a normal person - a writer, as it happens - living a seemingly idyllic existence in the country. However, the unnamed narrator has a problem that few of us have ever pondered. What does it feel like to be a bit-player in a major criminal case?
The story begins as the protagonist (we are unsure of their gender) bids farewell to a couple of friends. They seem envious of the house, with its splendid view. Once they are gone the writer resumes work on a radio drama script, which they know is not particularly good. But it's what the public wants, apparently, or at least what the producer wants. It gradually emerges that the writer is involved in a drama far less neatly-rounded than the story they are trying to complete.
The arrival of journalists who take pictures of the house and rummage through the bins makes it clear just how bad the real-life story must be. We never get any details, but it's obvious that terrible crimes have been committed by a husband/partner, and the narrator was unaware of them. The view offers no real consolation. The night draws on, threatening fresh horrors of memory and imagination.
Not a cheerful read, I admit, but packing a lot into a few pages. More from this running review soon.