In the Frame
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Charles Todd, an artist specialising in horse paintings visits a friend in Australia and becomes entangled in a conspiracy of racing, wine, women and murder.
are burning out … bloody buggering hell …’ I spoke loudly in his ear. ‘Your eyes are O.K.’ ‘They’re my bloody eyes and if I say they’re not O.K. they’re bloody not.’ ‘You know damn well you’re not going blind, so stop hamming it up.’ ‘They’re not your eyes, you sod.’ ‘And you’re frightening Sarah,’ I said. That message got through. He took his hands away and stopped rolling about. At the sight of his face a murmur of pleasant horror rippled through the riveted audience. Blobs of bright
with a flame like a blow torch just a couple of inches from her cheek … and I was a bit groggy … and Greene said they’d burn her if I didn’t get you … and I couldn’t fight them all at once.’ ‘Stop apologising,’ I said. ‘Yeah … well, so I rang you. I told Greene you’d be ten minutes because you were in your underpants, but I think he heard you anyway because he was standing right beside me, very wary and sharp. I didn’t know really whether you’d cottoned on, but I hoped to God … and you should
side of Jik I don’t know because he hasn’t painted anything since we met. You may think that this world will be worse off if Jik is happy for a bit, but I’m no fool, I know that in the end whatever it is that drives him to paint like that will come back again … I think these first few months together are frantically precious … and it isn’t just the physical dangers you’ve dragged us into that I hate, but the feeling that I’ve lost the rest of that golden time … that you remind him of his
office, through the door in the desk, and round to the front. ‘Can you manage them, sir?’ ‘Yes. Yes. Thank you.’ There was haste in his voice, now that he’d got his hands on the goods. ‘Thank you. Goodbye.’ Sarah had begun to say ‘Is that all?’ in disappointment when Porter’s loud voice chopped into the Hilton velvet like a hatchet. ‘I guess we’ll take care of those paintings, if you don’t mind,’ he said. ‘Porter, Melbourne city police.’ I opened the door a little, and looked out. Porter
which the man called Greene fired at me,’ I said. ‘He dropped them when he was reloading. I told you about them on the telephone.’ He nodded. ‘I don’t imagine they’re of much practical use,’ I said. ‘But they might persuade you that Greene is capable of murder.’ ‘Well … what of it?’ ‘It’s only a feeling …’ ‘Get on with it.’ ‘Greene,’ I said, ‘was in England at about the time Regina died.’ He stared. ‘Maybe Regina knew him,’ I said. ‘She had been in the gallery in Australia. Maybe she saw