‘an intriguing read . . . keeps the reader guessing . . . a lot to enjoy in this romp through the Cambridge Commons . . . a strong sense of place and a narrative style that is both energetic and engaging.’ [Dead Letters]

- Margaret Murphy, SHERLOCK

Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of the Beatles

Last year a family holiday took an unexpected turn. A couple of days before it was due to start, the holiday company rang to say that we couldn’t have the house that we had booked because the owners had notified them that there was a rat infestation. However they could offer us a more expensive house somewhere else and would pay the difference. It was not the kind of place or the area that I would have chosen, but everyone had booked time off work or otherwise made plans and it seemed best to salvage what we could.

The nineteenth century house had been done up like a boutique hotel. Yet in spite of the free-standing baths, the three TVs, one with a screen almost the size of a home cinema, and the tap dispensing boiling water, the place really wasn’t very comfortable. No bedside lights for a start. It felt as if it was designed for show rather than use. And although it didn’t have rats, it did have an worrying number of flies in the kitchen. There were two electric fly-catchers so that was clearly a long-standing problem. We never did find the body. Only joking …

Still we made the best of things – but what if we hadn’t and what if it had all gone terribly wrong? I came home with an idea for a short story.

My friend Josh Pachter had asked me to submit something for an anthology of crime stories inspired by the songs of the Beatles. It struck me that a holiday rental like this was the perfect setting for a story about couple who have a holiday that – like ours – takes them to a place that they didn’t expect. I changed various details, including the location of the house, and for them the change of plan turns out to be nothing short of catastrophic. I even surprised myself with this one.

 ‘I’ll be Back,’ the title of a song from the album, Beatles ’65, appears in Happiness is a Warm Gun: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of the Beatles, edited by Josh Pachter, which came out in October. Seventeen albums and seventeen stories. And there are some crackers in there.


  1. David Dean
    November 9, 2023

    It’s a wonderful story and definitely took me by surprise. Christine does it again!


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