Haiku: ‘Memory’

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Forty years ago
Time does not remove the pain
Where are our heroes?

Copyright Francis 2020

The Beast

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I conspire with the beast.
Two or three times a day
I must feed my best friend,
this cuddly saturnine feline
such processed packets of slaughter,
which I dispense without
thought into his bowl.
He is the innocent;
it is I who flagrantly
intervenes in nature, my acquiescence
muffling screams — and my conscience.
And what am I
but a lapsed frugivore,
a hypocrite with hippie affectations
who dares to profess that he cares?

*The beast is not the cat but the ‘system’.

Copyright Francis 2020

Friday Flash Fiction: ‘Pig Headed’

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He thought he’d seen it somewhere before; a pig’s head somehow pulled over the victim’s. The body had been left untouched until he arrived, partly concealed between trash cans.
“Gloves, please. Thanks.”
Kneeling down, he brought out the wallet, examining the debit card before showing it to detective constable Erica Wilkes. She squinted at it in the dim light. “But that’s you, boss, even the same initials.”
The sense of deja vu began to overwhelm him.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Murder At The Gallery (Tuesday Poetics dVerse)

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It was at the Turner Exhibition.
Hutchings was a quiet lad, for a copper;
he had a passion which no one suspected — and it got him killed.
I took the call and we all piled ’round.
There he was, wrapped up in bubble wrap,
sequestered in the store room
next to ‘Snow Storm’; not one of my favourites.
Someone had taken a scalpel to him,
a right mess he was, poor lad.
When we got to his flat there were art books all over,
though not a morsel in the fridge. Evidently Hutchings —
I shall call him George — used to feed on art.


Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio [1571-1610] — Marina Kanavaki (Reblog)

Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio* was born, September 29, 1571 in Milan, Italy. ✻ Caravaggio is actually the name of his home town in Lombardy in northern Italy ❦ An artist who lived a short and tempestuous life matching the drama of his works. He is considered the first great representative of the Baroque […]

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio [1571-1610] — Marina Kanavaki

*Caravaggio was clearly a genius.

‘The Second Death of Dr Finck’ Detective Jack Sallt, by Milly Reynolds

Two men are found in a beached boat, one dead, one seriously injured, stretching the resources of an already under-funded police force.

Suspended Detective Inspector Jack Sallt is reluctantly rushed back on duty to face his most perplexing and dangerous case yet, where old foes move in the shadows, threatening violence and controlling him with sensual taunts.

In the tense climax, Jack has to face his relentless enemies head on, risking not only his own life but also those of his colleagues and loved ones.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

‘One Pig More’ A Mike Malone Murder Mystery, by Milly Reynolds

This is the 18th ebook in the Mike Malone Murder Mystery Series.

DI Mike Malone and his trusted partner DS Alan Shepherd are faced with a tricky problem.

They are used to crimes which involve the theft of belongings, of animals so what do they do when the local farmers suddenly find that they are the victims of giving?

As they also have a local drugs operation to keep under surveillance and a friend to help, life is very busy – and interesting.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

‘Tails I Win, Heads You Lose!’ A Mike Malone Murder Mystery by Milly Reynolds

When the local milkman starts finding sheep’s heads instead of empty milk bottles, Detective Inspector Mike Malone knows that once again, he has a murderer to find.

With his trusted Detective Sergeant, Alan Shepherd, at his side, he starts the search for the vital clues that will solve the case.

However, when Mike realises that his nemesis, Max Kitchener, has arrived in town, then he knows that he must protect those closest to him or blood will be spilt, maybe even his own. As Max Kitchener takes the stage to enact the final part of his revenge, Mike Malone faces a battle for his life. Who will be the victor? Heads or tails?

This is the fifth novel in the Mike Malone Mysteries series and yet again, it is a tongue-in-cheek romp through the Lincolnshire countryside.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

‘Kissing The Devil’ Mike Malone Murder Mystery No.4


Most of us have had a lot more time on our hands this year, for obvious reasons. If you fancy some easy reading, why not try Milly Reynolds ebooks. They’re relatively short and inexpensive.

In this murder mystery, Kissing The Devil, Mike Malone has to solve a very odd crime. Who exactly is the White Devil and why is he paying night-time visits to the wives of the local farmers?

Mike and DS Alan Shepherd put it all down to high spirits but once blood is spilt in the farmyard, they realise that maybe the White Devil is trying to throw them off his real goal.

Meanwhile, the ghosts from Mike’s past are getting ever closer, putting the lives of everyone close to him at risk.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

The Woolly Murders – Local Crime Fiction


Want an easy, affordable read this summer? This is Milly Reynolds’ first crime fiction ebook of the Mike Malone series, The Woolly Murders, originally published in 2011.

Detective Inspector Mike Malone thought that his transfer to the countryside would give him the opportunity to take things easy.

Murder has never been so… local

However, when a well-loved local philanthropist is found strangled, he realises that maybe country-life is not so quiet after all. As he wades through wool and blood to find the mastermind behind this dreadful act, two of his friends suddenly disappear.

This is the first of a series of tongue-in-cheek crime mysteries featuring DI Mike Malone.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020