For visually challenged writers, the image shows a cardboard box full of various (animal?) skulls.
“Well strike me down with a fibula. What sort of skulduggery is this!” Old Archie Hamilton had been a forensic pathologist for forty years. He thought nothing could surprise him.
Then the box arrived in the mail this morning.
The regular brown cardboard box smelled like death. For that reason, Archie had decided to open it on his mortuary table. Inside was the morbid collection of animal skulls and bones.
“What a thoughtful gift,” remarked Doctor Rose Quinton another of the police pathologist. Dressed in her blue gown, she was preparing to examine the remains of a poor soul found in a drainage ditch that morning.
“And there was me hoping for a nice bar of chocolate,” Archie rolled his eyes behind his glasses as he picked up the phone. “Detective Ward, can I see you in pathology, please?”
It was ten minutes before DCI Derek Ward arrived in his graphite grey suit and trench coat. The ageing detective wasn’t alone. With him, wearing an almost identical trench coat was his sleuthy eighteen-year-old granddaughter Holly. The teen was the head waitress in her mother’s Workhouse restaurant. She wasn’t an official police officer of course, but with kindred training was good at solving criminal mysteries.
Archie beamed, he had fond memories of watching her grow up with her grandfather. “Good Morning, Detective Ward. How nice of you to bring your grandfather along,” he said with a wink.
“Hello Archie, it’s lovely to see you,” Holly said with a smile.
A few years ago I took an amazing trip up to Alnwick Castle & Gardens in Northumberland. It was a fantastic day out. Alnwick itself is truly beautiful and if anyone does decide to visit, I wholeheartedly recommend Barter Books shop, a converted railway station which is a treasure trove of wonderful books.
Anyway, I stray off-topic. One of the best areas of the Gardens is the aptly named “Poison Garden”. Behind locked Iron Gates are a menagerie of the worlds most deadly plants. Visitors are only allowed to enter the garden with a Poison Garden Warden. Although that is not a bad thing, they give the most wonderful tour filled with various anecdotes and stories about various plants.
One of the most thought-provoking things about the tour is how much wisdom we may have lost. The tour guide pointed out that almost every child knows that if stung by a nettle you can soothe it with a dock leaf. Yet many other pieces of plant knowledge like this, which families once knew has gone with the reliance on doctors, pharmacists and these days, the internet. Whilst I adore the allotment and the discovery of how rewarding it is to grow your own food, self-medicating is not on the list, but it’s certainly an interesting thought, are there more natural less processed remedies on our doorsteps, which our ancestors would have understood far better than we do?
As ever, another fabulous collection! Thank you all so much. Here is this week’s entries below:
For visually challenged writers, the image shows bright pinkish-red trumpet-shaped plants.
“Listen up, team! We have a small waterfall up ahead. Beyond that, we’ll drop into a smoother current and find a place to pull out for dinner.” Granger yelled over the roaring white water that churned beneath the yellow inflatable raft
“Heard, captain!” replied five of the six rafters.
“Bess, are you with us?” Granger tapped the girl on the shoulder. She was so lost in gazing at the banks whizzing by, she wasn’t even rowing with the others.
“Hey, Bess. Wake up!” said her friend Dave.
“Oops sorry! I was mesmerised by all the beautiful red bell-shaped flowers along the banks. It’s just so pretty over there.”
“No harm done. Those are rhododendrons. They’re rainforest shrubs. See how they choke out all the native plants here?” Granger explained with his deep green eyes focused on the river ahead. “Still they are lovely to look at during spring.”
Okay, so I don’t specifically know that this plant is poisonous, it’s probably fine. I just really liked how vibrant it looked. After getting a dog and then a few years later a toddler, I am amazed at just how many plants are poisonous (to either species). As we inherited a rather beautiful garden from the previous owner, sadly it has meant uprooting a few of the worst offenders and relocating them to safer regions.
So, poisonous plants, tell me your tales.
For visually challenged writers, the image shows bright pinkish-red trumpet-shaped plants.
The regulars already know this bit, but for those that don’t:
Each Thursday at Noon GMT I will post the #writephoto prompt
Use the image and prompt as inspiration to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… light or dark, whatever you choose, as long as it is fairly family-friendly.
Please have your entries linked back to the original prompt post by the following Tuesday at Noon GMT.
Link back to this post with a pingback (Hugh has an excellent tutorial here) and/or leave a link in the comments below, to be included in the round-up.
Please click their links to visit the blogs of other contributors and take time to read and comment on their work.
Use the #writephoto hashtag in your title so your posts can be found.
There is no word limit and no style requirements, except that your post must take inspiration from the image and/or the prompt word given in the title of this post.
Feel free to use #writephoto logo or include the prompt photo in your post if you wish, or you may replace it with one of your own to illustrate your work.
By participating in the #writephoto challenge, please be aware that your post may be featured as a reblog on this blog and I will link to your post for the round-up each week.
If you need some more inspiration or fancy a bit of light reading, check out last weeks round-up.
Their creepy and their kooky Mysterious and spooky Their all together ooky The #writephoto family
Definitely plagiarising there but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? And wow, wow, wow – what a wonderful collection of kooky, spooky and ooky responses our little tomb created.
This is actually the table tomb of Sir Rafe Bowes of Streatlam, which sits prominently at Egglestone Abbey. In the prompt, I alluded to the fact this site had its own intriguing little ghost story.
According to legend, in the 1300s Brother Martin lived at the Abbey. One moonlit evening during a stroll along the riverside he met a young girl by the riverside, the two became lovers, meeting every night at their secret location by the river. Racked by guilt Martin confessed all, locking himself in his cell and praying for forgiveness. One stormy evening he ventured from his cell and found her once again by the river. She was overcome with joy but Martin was pale, breathless and sweating, he grabbed her and accused her of being evil, sent from the devil to tempt him. She began to scream for help and his hands found her throat and strangled her. Sobbing Matthew threw her lifeless body into the water.
He returned to the abbey, delirious with fever. The monks nursed him back to health but he never spoke. Upon the next stormy night Brother Martin took himself down to the merciless waters and threw himself in.
Locals have reported over the years sightings of a ghostly monk seen around the ruins or the river. What do you believe?
A brilliant collection of entries. I have tried to reblog a few since the post went out so hopefully, you will have seen some of them trickling through, but here is the list below (if I have missed anyone, please let me know). What is your favourite?
Samantha looked at the teaspoon. It had been her grandma’s. A treasure containing a story. Her grandma had stolen it from a rich family she had worked for. They never noticed, she would say with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. Too much money, she would then say adding a tut. Whenever anyone important was round for tea she made sure to give them the good teaspoons.
Her grandma had been a kind woman. Smiling, sweet and loving. She had been a hard-working young woman until her family came along, and then she worked harder still at the more crucial job of wife and mother. It was when she was a grandmother that she shone though. She taught her grandkids everything, how to cook, clean, grow edibles and take good care of one’s appearance, all whilst smiling and laughing. Her grandchildren loved her for it. It was a cliché, they were not rich with material goods, but they were rich in love.
Samantha sighed and put the spoons in a “to keep” box, wondering what she herself would leave to her grandchildren one day.
📖 In Cambridge 1896, a professor is shot dead in his study. The only suspect was seen leaving the building a number of seconds before the shot was fired, and the witnesses testify no one else left the building after the shot. How could the killer have escaped? Venessa Weatherburn is asked to look into the case.
✍️ Firstly, I had not realised this was book 3 in a series so perhaps may have enjoyed it a little more being armed with that info. The book intrigued me from the offset. A historical murder mystery with the detective not being a middle-aged man (or older widow) but a young married mother with two young children of her own. It seemed intriguing. The reality of the story is she drops the kids off at her sister’s and then pretty much forgets about them.
🗣 I often think it’s useful to see an extract of a book to get an idea of the writing style. Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:
‘I don’t know, though,’ he said. ‘People tell stories around here all the time, and Peretz’s latest can always be counted upon to get a lot of appreciation. Peretz is one of our great Yiddish authors,’ he added, turning to me. Reaching up to a shelf, which held a pile of papers and well-thumbed tomes, he took down some old newspapers and glanced through them. I looked eagerly over his shoulder, but found myself confronted with Hebrew characters, as illegible to me as if I were staring at a blank wall. ‘You won’t be able to read this,’ he said, smiling. ‘Anyway, I don’t think I have the story here, as it only just came out. Listen, I’ll find it and translate it for you, and send one of my brothers to bring it over to you tomorrow. I don’t know what conclusions you’ll be able to draw from it; probably none.’ ‘I would very much like to read the story, nevertheless,’ I said.
👓 The story is all told from Vanessa’s viewpoint (written as a memoir/diary style) and whilst at times she is an interesting character, strong-willed, questioning but approachable, the book tends to drift off into large amounts of mathematical theory. Some of which is relevant to the story but the majority just seemed to be page fillers and I found myself glossing over to try to get to the next part of the book that contained actual story content.
👫 Quite early in the book we find out that the murdered professor was an anti-Semite, who made no secret of his views and had a clear stance on the famous Dreyfus affair in France. Vanessa slowly ends up in the Jewish community in London. This then meant the book went on to explain a lot about the Hassidic sect of Judaism. Some of this was interesting ( I did enjoy learning about the families and the customs within the Jewish community and the comparisons made by the Christian Vanessa). However, again the author seemed to put in every possible bit of information about Jewish culture from that time and for me, it really began to detract from the story.
🗺 I enjoyed the historical setting and the descriptions of the buildings in and around Cambridge and sections of London were very visual.
💔 Any Negatives: The story itself, for me, had real potential a murdered professor and a real puzzle of how a murderer could get in and out unseen – brilliant stuff. However, I found myself enjoying the book less and less as the author repeatedly went into more and more mathematical theories. I also feel a lot of the religious elements were unnecessary and again slowed the book and story down. There were also a few too many characters I felt, I understand Jewish communities are large, and also scholarly circles at the university, but the number of new character introductions felt too much for a fiction novel.
💭 Overall View: The setting, the mystery and the main character were all great. However, the book was too focused on mathematics, Jewish religion, and antisemitism which ultimately detracted from the story. A bit of knowledge is very interesting but the author went too far. 👍 Please leave a like if you think my review/feedback of the item was helpful to you. Alternatively, please contact me if you want me to clarify something in my review.