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My business is pleasure

Cynthia asked: ‘Isn’t that a Van Eyck on the wall over there?’ The smile touched his lips. ‘If one looks at it from such a distance, yes. If one stands close and examines it by...

The Graf

The room was of classical dimensions, with a rococo plaster frieze and a ceiling painted with what looked like a florid variation on ‘The Origin of the Milky Way’. The furniture, however, was all contemporary....

How clever of God

Late in the afternoon pretence of work was abandoned. The sun had dropped behind the shoulder of Sweeney’s Hill, but it was very hot. They lay on a carpet of tattered palm leaves, and drank...

Like animals, or like gods

The aftermath of the typhoon found Marriott with a feeling of weakness and helplessness much greater than following his fight with Billy. The battering the elements had given him had been less violent but, going...

The watcher

Billy said: ‘Sweeney, we’re looking for Yasha, and Susan.’ Sweeney raised his eyebrows. ‘I was surprised so many of you had come. Did you think you would find them here?’ Marriott broke in restlessly: ‘You...

All will break up and dissolve

The scene outside had the sharpness and at the same time unreality of an over-contrasted television screen. Candie was the first person she saw; he was stretched out between the two huts, lying on his...

Ready for your nightcap?

Over supper she made a lot of jokes which she knew at the time were pointless, and drank a good deal of palm wine. At the same time she was aware of a different tension...

Offerings to a god

Lydia awoke early in the morning and set off up the valley before any except Candie, who had taken the last sentry duty, was awake. It had become a habit for someone to go up...