Soooo, it's finally here...."Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab"'s release date! In honor of the occasion, Barnabas (and I, of course!) have embarked on a whirlwind blog tour. I had a blast visiting each one! Here, though, I think I'll post the most, errrr, unusual ones, where the blogger interviews Apep, who is an Egyptian god of evil and chaos and who is portrayed in the book as a rather unsavory (and quite dangerous!) fellow. So let's give poor Apep a chance to speak, and perhaps clear up some misconceptions about his character (or reinforce them, as the case my be!)
So here, with no further ado, is the transcript of the interview:
Btw, "FB" refers to Fang-tastic Books, the intrepid blogger who bravely (foolishly?) undertook the job of interviewing a god of evil who also just happens to be a very large snake. Good luck to you, FB!
Today we’ll be talking to Apep, the Egyptian god of chaos and evil, about his role in the just-released “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” by Columbkill Noonan. Barnabas Tew himself was supposed to come by as well, but he claimed to come down with a mysterious and somewhat vague ailment the moment he heard Apep was coming, and could not be reached for further comment. Probably for the best, anyway, since Apep’s first words upon arrival were to inquire about the whereabouts of Barnabas whilst gnashing his teeth rather fearsomely.
FB: So, Apep, thank you very much for coming, we are very pleased….
Apep: (looking around, still gnashing those nasty-looking fangs) “Are you absolutely sure Barnabas isn’t here? I could do with a snack, you know.”
FB: Uh, sorry, no. He’s not here. But we do have a nice cheese platter.”
Apep: “Blech. How about some tasty mice?”
FB: “Hmmm. I think we’re all out of mice. Sorry.”
Intern: “I think we have some gummy worms….”
Apep: “Worms, you say? I suppose that will do.”
(Intern leaves to fetch the gummy worms.)
FB: “So, Apep, now that we’ve got the snack situation in hand…” (looking at Apep, realizing that he has no hands, as he’s a snake, and that comment might be seen as offensive) “….er, under control, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?”
Apep: “Well, I’m the Egyptian god of chaos and all that is evil, as you probably know.”
FB: “Very interesting. What, exactly, does it entail, being the god of chaos and evil and what-not?”
Apep: (looking into the distance and speaking with great seriousness) “The biggest thing is that I do my best to sow discord as much as I possibly can. Anytime anyone has a plan, I do what I can to wreck it. Just little things, you know, mean so much. Like if someone has just plowed a field, I’ll do my best to whip up a windstorm and blow all their seeds away, so they’ll have no crops and starve. It’s hilarious! And my minions and I love to eat up all those mouse-headed people that live around my mountain, Bakhu. Not all of them, mind you, because then there would be no one left to be terrified of me, but just enough to keep them on their toes.”
FB: “Hmmm. Lovely. Sounds like fun. Now, in ‘Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab’, we learn that you have a rather complicated relationship with the sun. Can you expand on that a bit?”
Apep: “Well, as you know, the sun is rolled across the sky every day, and then every night it sinks below the horizon and travels underground, which is where I live, of course. So every night I ambush the sun once it sets, and we have a wonderfully terrible battle.”
FB: “And you do this…why?”
Apep: “Why, to keep it from ever rising again! Wouldn’t that be the absolute best chaos anyone had ever seen?”
FB: “But so far the sun has continued to rise, pretty regularly…”
Apep: (grumpily)“Yes, well, I haven’t managed to stop it yet. But one must keep trying, right? I’d be a terrible god of evil if I just gave up.”
FB: “Of course. Your dedication is commendable.”
Apep: (nodding head graciously) “I’m not the god of evil and chaos for nothing, you know.”
FB: “I’d like to ask you about Barnabas Tew, and what happened in Bakhu with him.”
Apep: (hissing angrily) “Barnabas Tew! Ugh, I hate that guy! He’s the absolute worst. He doesn’t understand chaos at all, and he went way out of his way to thwart me. He had no real reason to come after me like that! Yes, yes, I tried to eat him, but what did he expect?”
FB: “I guess it was because he was hired to find the missing sun god. Seems that he may have had some reason to be, well, a bit wary of you....”
Apep: ‘Well, of course he did. But there was no need to do what he did. That business with Bastet, you know, was truly over the top.”
FB: “I hate to pry, since this is clearly a tender subject, but can you tell us how you feel about what happened with Bastet?”
Apep: “On the contrary, I’d be happy to tell you. People really should be warned, if there’s going to be a detective wandering about interfering with chaos the way Barnabas is doing. Everybody knows that there is a list of ways in which to defeat me. ‘Setting fire to Apep. Defiling Apep with your left foot. Taking a knife to Apep.’ Things like that. Now, I don’t like those things very much, obviously, but that’s how it’s done. For Barnabas to bring in Bastet…Bastet, a cat, for chaos’ sake! Well, that’s just disgusting. And it’s most definitely not on the list.”
FB: “I can see that you’re very upset….”
Apep: “Of course I am! If I ever get my fangs on that Barnabas, I’ll show him some real chaos, I can promise you that.” (looking around) “Where are those gummy worms? I’m really very hungry. What about you?”
FB: “Am I hungry, you mean?”
Apep: “No, I was wondering if I might have you as a snack. Are you tasty?”
FB: (backing away nervously, and speaking in a voice that is far too chipper) “Well then, I think we’re done here! I’m sure you have some evil to sow; some chaos to wreak?”
Apep: (slithering closer, flickering his tongue in and out whilst drool drips from his lower lip) “Yes, well, there’s always time for a snack. You’re not a mouse, precisely, but I think you’ll do.”
FB: (backing away, then running) “Intern! Intern! Ack!”
Disclaimer: No interviewers or interns were harmed in the making of this blog post, but the bag of gummy worms that the panicked intern tossed in Apep’s way was devoured most mercilessly.
“Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” is now available on Amazon! (https://www.amazon.com/Barnabas-Tew-Case-Missing-Scarab/dp/1546786074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499198796&sr=8-1&keywords=barnabas+tew)
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I thought I'd let you see one of my favourite scenes from my new novel, Merle, published on July 5th.
This is the second book in my Jacques Forêt series of mystery stories set in the Cévennes and featuring my lead character and investigator, Jacques Forêt. Although Jacques is now working in Mende, a major city about 30m kilometres south of my fictional village, Messandrierre, he still keeps in touch with the villagers and his close friend, Gaston, in the village restaurant. Beth Samuels, his love interest, is also back in her chalet in the village and Jacques calls in to see her when he can.
The local farmers are still giving Jacques a few headaches but he finds ways of dealing with them… as you will see in the extract below.
"I want an explanation and none of you are leaving here until I get one." Jacques, unshaven from having being woken so early and dressed in a pair of creased jeans and a jumper, paced back and forth in the bar as he waited for someone to respond. "This find has to be called in. There is no question of that. But you will have to explain what you were doing up in the north pastures at four in the morning. It's a very odd time to be mending fences, Rouselle." His tone hardened. "What were you doing?" He stopped and looked each one of the men in the eye in turn.
"Rouselle?" he prompted.
Rouselle shifted in his chair and looked away. Gaston and Pamier glanced at each other but said nothing.
"Right." Jacques pulled out his phone. "You leave me no option and the charges I will be suggesting to my old colleagues in Mende will be trespass, concealment of a body and obstruction of a police investigation. I'm sure I can think of a couple more, but those will suffice for now." He began to dial.
"Tell him, Rouselle." It was Gaston who broke the silence. "Damn well tell him, man."
Jacques pulled up a chair from a nearby table, pulled his notebook from the back pocket of his jeans and sat down. "Any chance of some coffee?"
"Of course," said Gaston as he got up and moved across the room.
"It's not trespass, Jacques." Rouselle blustered, "I was taking back what was mine." He sat upright, his hands placed on his thighs, defiance in his eyes. "I was taking back my land."
"And do you have documentary proof of where the boundary between your land and Delacroix's actually sits?"
"So, if I were to ask for those documents so that I could pass them on to a surveyor, he will be able to tell me that your new fence is in exactly the right place. Is that correct?" Jacques watched the farmer's face as a smidgen of colour suffused his cheeks.
"I'm just a simple farming man, Jacques," he said, his tone more moderate and respectful. "I understand cattle and the land. How do I know what a surveyor will find?" He shrugged off his evident lie.
Jacques tapped his notebook with his pen. "And why did this…reclaim of your land have to be undertaken now? It's 4.37am, it's still dark. Moving fences is not the sort of job that I would normally expect to be done at this time in the morning." He accepted the coffee that Gaston handed to him and sat back in his chair, left ankle resting on his right knee.
"I've a very busy day today and I wanted to get the job done and out of the way early." Rouselle placed the coffee he was handed on the table next to him.
"I see. You have such a busy day today that you can afford to keep lying to me, can you? No-one is leaving until I get to the truth, Fermier Rouselle. The whole truth."
"Delacroix owes me," he shouted. "And I'm not giving up on my land. I'm doing my bit for the community by taking care of his cattle, as requested by Monsieur le Maire, even though the compensation for those two beasts of mine that he injured and Clergue killed is still outstanding. I want my land back." He stared at Jacques.
"Then do it legally, Rouselle. What you've been doing here tonight is highly suspicious. I have no doubt that your new fence will be more or less in the right place, Fermier Rouselle. But, more or less is still not exact and still not legal."
Before the farmer could remonstrate more, he turned his attention to Gaston. "And your involvement is what?"
"I was just helping out a fellow villager, that's all, Jacques." He finished his coffee and took out his cigarettes and lighter.
"Fermier Pamier, your reason for being there?"
"The same as Gaston." The both exchanged a look.
Jacques drained his cup and placed it on the table behind him. "And what about the body. Do any of you know who it is?"
"No," the three of them chorused.
"Is that so?" Jacques stood and began to pace, his instincts sharpened by their response.
"So, none of you knew the body was there before you found it?"
"No." Another unified response.
"You don't seem very surprised that there is a body on what you claim to be your land, Fermier Rouselle?"
Rouselle opened his mouth to speak but paused and closed it again.
"Nothing to say, Fermier Rouselle?" Jacques waited. "That's not like you, is it? Always voluble. Always to be relied upon for an appropriate opinion. But today, when a body is found on your land, you say nothing."
Rouselle stood. "And you're not a gendarme any longer, this isn't Paris and you have no right to interrogate me."
Jacques turned to face him and shouted. "That may be so, but you sent for me, so sit down. You've involved me in this very suspicious escapade that you three are undertaking and I have to be absolutely certain that I am not implicated in any way. My reputation as a gendarme and investigator is at stake and you three seem to think that you can just brush that aside behind a wall of silence." Hands on his hips he towered over them. "I'm calling this in, I expect it will be Magistrate Pelletier who is assigned to this enquiry and I expect the three of you to be absolutely open and honest with him as you seem to be incapable of being truthful with me."
Leaving his notebook on the table he marched out of the bar, phone in his hand and dialled.
Merle, published on July 5th, is available here https://www.amazon.com/Merle-French-mystery-Jacques-Mystery-ebook/dp/B0728BMD96/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=