Fraser s Line
85 pages

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85 pages

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Fraser's Line is an intriguing debut novel from author Monica Carly. Fraser Coleman, in his early sixties, is devastated by the loss of his adored wife Edie, only to discover the painful truth that she was not as perfect as he thought. As if this were not enough he must now face other revelations concerning his two daughters, whose lives are far more dysfunctional than he had realised. Fraser's elderly mother, Marjorie, becoming increasingly frail and forgetful, is a concern to Fraser and his sister Margaret, but they disagree over her future as Margaret believes their mother should go into a care home and Fraser resists this. Marjorie, a widow ever since her children were very small, has her own secrets, having kept from her children the knowledge of the true identity of their father, and where and why he died. She thought this was for the best at the time, but is now anxious to pass the information on, before it is too late, As Fraser begins to face up to the previously unsuspected deceits and betrayals a new friend lends her support. Told compellingly and with humour, the story, with its many twists and turns, fully engages the reader until the satisfying conclusion has been reached.


Publié par
Date de parution 07 juillet 2010
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781849891585
Langue English

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Title Page
Publisher Information
Fraser’s Line published in 2010 by
Andrews UK Limited
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published, and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
The characters and situations in this book are entirely imaginary and bear no relation to any real person or actual happening.
Copyright © Monica Carly
The right of Monica Carly to be identified as author of this book has been asserted in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act 1988.

He ran from alleyway to alleyway, ducking and weaving to escape the artillery fire. It was more than two weeks since the uprising had begun and somehow he had managed to stay alive. On the first day of the resistance two boys had succeeded in climbing on to the roof of the headquarters in Muranowski Square and raising both the red and white Polish flag and the blue and white flag of the Jewish fighting organisation. These flags had fluttered in the breeze for four days, an act of defiance which had brought a brief glimmer of hope to the suffering prisoners before the Germans were able to remove them. In a desperate attempt to resist deportation and certain death he and his fellow prisoners had tried to breach the ghetto walls but against such military might they had failed. Armed with only a few pistols and some homemade explosive devices the brave attempts of the insurgents were doomed to failure and thousands had already died.
Now he knew he had little hope. It was said that there was an escape route through the sewers and he had decided to make an attempt to reach them. Every renewed effort to run cost his weak, malnourished body unbearable pain. Sheltering briefly in a doorway, he undid his breast pocket and took out, for the hundredth time, a photograph of a beautiful woman and two tiny children. He gazed at it once more, his heart aching with longing. Then he returned it to his pocket and gathered his strength to drive himself on once more, but this time his moving figure was seen. From his vantage point on a rooftop just outside the wall SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Karl Baecker unleashed a shower of bullets which abruptly ended the fugitive’s progress. His shattered body lying in the dust, Ahron Cukierman, unsung hero of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, could fight no more.
Chapter 1
Spluttering angrily in the frying pan, the charred sausages split open with sudden force, disgorging their pink contents before Fraser’s bemused glare. Why on earth did they do that? Whenever Edie had put a plate of his favourite dish in front of him the sausages were succulent, cylindrical, golden brown delights – moist and tender inside, with a heavenly aroma that set his mouth watering. Crowning this feast would be a mountain of soft, fluffy, mashed potato, topped by a glistening knob of butter caught in the act of melting, little golden rivulets starting to run down, destined to join the surrounding pool of rich, onion gravy below.
How well two such different items blended, forming a perfect union! The nebulous, white cloud danced gaily in the air above, in apparent mockery of the earthy objects below, which nevertheless provided an essential solid foundation. A marriage made in heaven, you might say. But now half the dish was missing, and what remained lacked vitality. Fraser had little appetite for the burnt offerings on his plate.
He pondered on the irony that for years he had successfully designed and sold kitchens – but put him to work in one, and he was useless. Because Edie had been a wonderful cook who revelled in the role it had seemed natural to leave everything to her. How he had enjoyed her meals! Perhaps there had been one or two disasters at the beginning, but they had turned into humorous memories and become something of a long-standing joke between them. Shall we have the chicken cooked or almost raw today? Would you like your potatoes with salt or sugar? But that had only been when they were first married – the natural errors of a new and slightly nervous young bride. In no time she had become confident, and her culinary skills surpassed his hopes and expectations. Every evening he had come home happy in the certain knowledge that his hunger pangs would be satisfied in an appealing and exciting way.
But marriage to Edie had been about much more than her appetising dinners – she had transformed his life. From the first moment he saw her he had been captivated by her looks, her charm, and her lively, fascinating personality. What she had seen in him he had never fathomed, but he counted himself amazingly fortunate that he had found her, and persuaded her to marry him. It had been thirty-one bewildering, tantalising, wonderful, heart-stopping years that suddenly ended seven weeks ago when, without warning, she fell, and died. It was, he was told, an aneurism, something totally unsuspected, and in a matter of seconds she was gone.
Now he had to live with an aching void which never left him in peace. People tried to make comforting remarks. The passage of time, he was told, would prove a wonderful healer. No one could suggest how you coped with the present, before that future time arrived when apparently the pain would have subsided. Edie had been everything to him, and his marriage a gift for which he had never ceased to be grateful.
Fraser tipped the sausages out of the pan – three blackened, distorted shapes against a white plate, looking miserably incomplete without that light topping of creamy mash. He’d have to get a slice of bread as an accompaniment. Fumbling in the bag for a piece he could hear Edie saying, ‘Men cannot multitask. They have never learned how to think about several jobs at once.’ She was quite right – he should have got that ready while the frying was going on; the sausages were already cooling down.
The telephone rang. Fraser cursed and picked up the receiver. Before he could say anything an urgent female voice said, ‘Hello! Fred?’
‘No,’ replied Fraser, ‘it’s not, it’s…’
‘Well where is he?’ demanded the unfamiliar voice.
‘I’ve no idea,’ replied Fraser, reasonably.
‘This is most annoying,’ said the woman. ‘I need to speak to him.’
‘Perhaps you could try ringing him.’
‘I just did, but you answered!’ The female voice was becoming irritated.
‘The thing is …’ Fraser was still trying to be calm. ‘I answered because you rang me .’
‘Well who are you?’ she demanded.
‘Fraser Coleman.’
‘Who? Why would I ring you? I don’t know you!’
‘Look,’ said Fraser, beginning to lose his cool, ‘I answered because you rang me. I am Fraser Coleman, and you rang me. This is my house, and my telephone line, and you rang it. I don’t know who you are, and I don’t know anyone called Fred. And what’s more, my sausages are going cold. Not that I actually want to eat them,’ he admitted honestly. ‘They look burnt and they’ve split open.’
‘There’s no need to be rude,’ replied the voice indignantly. ‘All I asked you was why you answered instead of Fred. A civil answer never hurt anyone. And you had the heat up too high.’ With that she banged the receiver down.
Slightly shaken by this unexpected exchange Fraser sat down and started work on his supper. After one mouthful, the telephone rang again. If it was another call from that mad woman he would find it difficult to restrain himself, but instead it was his elder daughter, Sarah.
‘Hi Dad! Well, what’s happening? Have you said anything to him?’ Always so charming and deferential to her clients, Sarah seemed to consider it unnecessary to engage in any social niceties when addressing her father.
‘Have I said what to who?’
‘To whom.’
‘It’s “whom” after “to”.’
‘I’m grateful for the grammar lesson, but mystified about the point of this call. One extraordinary telephone conversation is enough for one day.’
‘What extraordinary conversation?’
‘Oh, never mind,’ sighed Fraser. ‘Let’s just start at the beginning. What are you asking me?’
‘You haven’t forgotten I told you I was worried about the temperature in my fridge, have you? I spoke to you about it two days ago. I feel almost certain it’s not running quite cold enough, and if that’s so then the stuff in it must be going off, and I’m feeding my family suspect food! You said you’d ask John to come and test it, and you could get me a replacement if it was faulty.’
‘I’m sorry,” said Fraser. ‘I’m afraid it slipped my mind.’
‘You promised, Dad, and nothing’s been done about it! We might all die of food poisoning!’
Fraser had a sudden vision of Sarah, Michael and the twins all keeling over, clutching their stomachs – and it would, of course, be his fault. Sarah had a knack of making him feel responsible for any unfortunate events.
‘All right, I’ll come round myself first thing in the morning. Scout’s honour.’
‘Oh well, thanks. And by the way, are you managing all right?’
It was a bit of an afterthought, but at least she had asked.
‘Since you mention it, I’m finding everyday life pretty difficult. Apart from missing your mother dreadfully, I can’t cook. My sausages are revolting. They’re all burnt on the outside and pink inside.’
Sarah softened. ‘Look Dad, since it’s Saturday tomorrow and we’ll be at home, why don’t you come for lunch? I’ve got a Shepherd’s Pie in the freezer ready to cook, and I’m sure it’ll stretch. I’ll expect you at 1 o’clock. By the way, you had the heat turned up too high.’
By now the sausages were slowly congealing on the plate and Fraser pushed them aside. I

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