An excerpt from…

A Story of Christmas Eve in Frankfort

By K. Patrick Glover

     It was Christmas Eve in Frankfort, Michigan and The Mariner was empty but for me and an off duty cop named Dan Avery. Dan represented one third of the city’s police department and I,  Nick Kellerman, its sole private detective. We were drinking Jim Beam and discussing the presents we had purchased for our respective girl friends.
     My girl, Sasha, was only 19, and since I’m pushing 45, Dan’s end of the conversation included a lot of jokes about cradles and playpens. I took it in good humor, only occasionally threatening to spank him with my cane. In truth, the situation made me feel awkward, but Sasha felt it was perfectly acceptable so what did I know?
     We were starting to come to the conclusion that neither one of us was very good at gift buying when Susie Vandrick, who worked in the flower shop below my office, burst in and started babbling about a body down on the beach. Dan calmed her down and the bartender brought her a cup of hot coffee. It took awhile, but we got what details we could from her. She said the body was on the beach, just off the turnaround at the end of the road. Dan and I threw on our coats and went for a walk.
     The Mariner sat almost at the end of the main road and the only thing between it and the beach at Lake Michigan was a few condos and the turnaround. It had been snowing off and on for two weeks by then and the beach was covered in several inches of bright clean snow. A field of white broken only by the body lying in the middle of it. A single set of footprints, presumably his own, led from the turnaround to the body.
     It was a male, probably in his mid-thirties, with broad shoulders and sandy hair.
     “Any idea who it is?” Dan asked.
     “No,” I lied.
     The next hour was a flurry of activity. I walked out to the body and verified that he was really dead while Dan went back to his car and called it in. There was no blood, no visible injuries. I checked his fingernails and lips, smelled his breath. No obvious signs of foul play, could have been a heart attack or stroke. The ambulance showed up first, then the rest of Frankfort’s police department and least they were actually sober and on duty unlike Dan.
     We backed off and let them take over. Dan went back to The Mariner to finish his drink. I went home to think things over.


  1. Watch out, KPG. All the talk of ghosts is likely to attract Rose!

    Just kidding. Seriously, I like the story. The interweaving of detective story with elements of a traditional Christmas classic is a nice touch. Congrats, fellow wordsmith!

  2. Thanks Sadie. This is actually a christmas vinette that immediately follows the novel I’m working on. If all goes well, the book itself will be finished sometime next summer.

  3. I was just going to ask you when the book comes out.  If you could, I would appreciate a comment here when your book comes out.  I really think I would enjoy it.

    Great story KPG!

  4. Well, first I have to finish writing it, then I have to sell it. However, once I accomplish both those things I’ll make an absolute pest out of myself telling everyone when it’s coming out.

  5. KPG, I read a few books a week – Robert B Parker hasn’t written enough books as far as I’m concerned – I keep re reading them as the detective genre is one of my favourites and his especially because they seem to flow so effortlessly.
    Most ‘awthors’ don’t quite have that (makes it look like it’s easy) knack.
    Yours flows nicely – I loved Sasha’s way of introducing the peanut allergy.
    Nice work, mate. smile

    the book itself will be finished sometime next summer.

    Are you talking 1st draft or edited & ready for publication?

  6. Thanks, LJ. That’s a particularly flattering comparison for me since Parker is my favorite author and probably the strongest influence on my writing style.

    As for the book, it’ll be a 2nd draft, submission ready version finished by summer. On a side note, I’ll probably be looking for a couple volunteers to read the first draft sometime this spring, to help look for any inconsistencies and such.

  7. I’ll probably be looking for a couple volunteers to read the first draft sometime this spring, to help look for any inconsistencies and such.

    Look no further! smile

  8. I was going to say the same thing about the easy flow as LJ but never got around to it. (No points for saying it second I guess.)

    I admire the ability of a writer to progress a story intelligently and succinctly, probably because my sentences tend to wander and cough.

    One thing I didn’t understand in the story though was how James Reed was able to get down to the beach from his car with his throat closed up. I guess the onset of an allergy like that takes time.

  9. I enjoyed your story very much.  There is a local author who lives in Montrose, MI. that I enjoy reading. His name is Doug Allyn. After reading your work I would like to know when the book comes out also.  Entertaining!

  10. No wukkers, KPG.
    I hope you can see me waving my hand in an enthusiastic ‘pick me’ fashion.  smile

  11. Quick roud-up, here.

    Brock, maybe no points for being 2nd, but certainly thanks. And yes, the onset of an alergic reaction like that can take several minutes, depending on the individual.

    Momma, thanks as well, to you, glad you enjoyed it. I’ve never read Doug Allyn, but I’ll put him on my list to look for after the holidays.

    LJ and Webs, consider yourself both on the list and thanks for the interest.

  12. KPG – I always wondered how fiction writers thought of a story – it’s not something I’ve ever been able to do well, and to imagine a conversation between 2 or more people with different frames of mind and distinct psychology must be difficult. I’d have to imagine myself as one of the characters and get someone else to do the same, and almost act it out taking minutes

    I have to admit though – I’m not good at reading (tend to skim unless I concentrate), and my work is not of the nature to inspire creativity. Also I cannot conciously visualise but can subconciously recognise.

  13. It’s actually more difficult for me NOT to think of stories. I generally get about a dozen story ideas every day, either scenes or plots or snippets of dialogue, far more than I could ever actually use. They live in a pile of random notes in my desk drawer.

  14. I am sure for writers what I am about to suggest is the equivalent of selling your soul, but KPG you should think about being a writer for drama shows or some kind of TV shows with that kind of mind.  You couldn’t be any worse than what is currently out there.

    Anyways, I look forward to reading your blog…

  15. I write short stories in my spare time. I have never had much trouble coming up with ideas; in fact, I have the opposite problem. There is so much that I feel I could write about that I’d never get the time to actually do it. Often I transpose events that have occurred in my own life onto my stories, with fictional elements and characters. I also form stories with ideas borrowed from other media. As an avid fan of ‘60s camp, many of my stories contain surreal, almost sci-fi elements. I like to write erotic fiction as well.

  16. DC: … and to imagine a conversation between 2 or more people with different frames of mind and distinct psychology must be difficult …

    This reminded me of Susan Howatch and her Starbridge series where, if I remember correctly (but probably not smile ) she had each chapter written in the first person … by different characters.
    Sound a bit mysterious? I’ll have another go at an explanation.
    For example: Book. 4 characters. 8 chapters. Each chapter written ‘by’ and ‘from the point of view of’ one of the 4 characters.
    I think I read about 4 of the 6 books in the series.
    Ah. I just had a look – it seems the last two were written after I started drinking & smoking dope again. Of course I don’t remember if I read them.  wink
    The psychology of mind needed by the author to enter the psyche of each character was as amazing as the psychology of the mind needed by the reader to keep the fuck up with it all.
    You’d think you understood a character who ‘wrote’ the first chapter then the next chapter was written ‘by’ someone else who gave you a completely different psychological picture of that first character.
    I don’t even care if any of that made no sense – it made more sense than half her books did to me.  smile

  17. I don’t even care if any of that made no sense – it made more sense than half her books did to me.

    It reminded me of the conversations I have with my stoner roommate… wink

  18. A little news for anyone who’s interested. I submitted this story to an online mystery magazine awhile back and just received an email from the magazines editor. They like the story and want to include it in their Winter 2007 issue.(I can’t mention the magazine by name until papers are signed and such.)

  19. Well done, might be able to publish a story on paper soon with the reader-rep and ties to publishers that may result…

  20. each chapter written in the first person

    Sounds like Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying”, though this is told in stream of conciousness, (How do I explain this, my mind distracted by itches, damn the spelling mistakes, damn my typing, wnating to look good educated, the itch on my ribs distracting me), which I read about 20 years ago (So long so long, so much missed oppotunity, shoud I have married Deb)

  21. The story was very good!  You should think about making a series out of it, the characters Sasha and Nick work well together in the story.

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