A still life and a dead man…
Richard Patton and his wife, Amelia are heading to an exclusive two-week art retreat run by Bruno Fillingley.
A talented artist in his own right, Bruno’s reputation in the art world is more infamous than famous.
As Richard knows all too well, Bruno’s actual talent lies in forgery, but what stops him from being a true forger is that Bruno doesn’t sell any of his copies.
Instead, he exhibits them in his manor – and in their midst, he hangs real genuine pieces to see if visitors can tell the difference.
Very few ever have.
To make ends meet, Bruno set up his retreat course and at an extraordinary fee, anyone from budding new talents to amateurs and hobbyists are welcomed.
As Amelia is the artist out of the two, Richard has little to do – and as a retired ex-detective, he can’t help but notice the oddness of the other guests.
There’s Samantha Penney, a shy and private young woman, who appears to have come to the retreat more for company than any self-improvement.
Then the Inskip’s – Bert and Veronica – a married couple in name only, what with their separate cars, separate rooms and separate mediums.
Lewis Hately, a strange and angry man, whose modern style of oil painting sets him apart from the rest.
There’s Rex Lightfoot, charming and easily distracted from his work by his own Lothario tendencies.
Although he seems immune to Carla Race, who presence is only to discomfort and harass one particular guest: Roy Towers.
If Richard’s intuition is still sharp and Carla’s seething comments are true then Roy was once a policeman – a corrupt one.
But Roy is also a deeply talented artist, choosing to work in the studio only at night, on what he calls his Still Life With Pistol.
To make matters worse for Roy, his estranged wife Marion managed to sneak on estate to confront him.
Then one night, unable to sleep and disturbed by a shadowy figure, Richard finds Roy in the studio, slumped in front of his canvas.
Richard may be retired, but he still knows a dead body when he sees one.
And, as he soon chillingly realises, only someone on the retreat could’ve killed Roy…
Where art meets murder, Still Life With Pistol is a thrilling and suspenseful mystery.
Roger Ormerod (1920-2005) was a prolific writer of ingenious and densely plotted crime novels – some 35 in all – which were published in the UK and the USA. He lived in Wolverhampton and amongst other things worked as a civil servant.