Franz Schubert is famed for his Unfinished Symphony. It's a lovely piece of music, scholars debate why this work remains unfinished. The truth is Schubert composed close to one thousand different pieces of work in his lifetime, he was only thirty-one years of age when he died, this symphony simply was set aside and forgotten. No doubt he had every intention of finishing the work but just never got round to it !

I have a number of works which I started, set aside and while I would like one day to finish them it is more than likely they will go the same way as Schubert's Unfinished Symphony.

In my younger days I would read the works of Dennis Wheatley: The Devil Rides Out, To The Devil A Daughter, The Haunting of Toby Jug and more. I thought I would try my hand at the style which had made Dennis Wheatley famous and rich. That's Mr Wheatley below. I started to write The Fires of Hell but just gave up !

I wonder if Dennis Wheatley ever started a book and failed to finish it. One day. perhaps, I may continue The Fires Of Hell, who knows. If you click on the cover you can read what I have written so far.

Tell me what you think, you may inspire me to finish writing.

Fireball XL5 is something I doubt I will ever finish.

This story is a bit different. When I write I write for myself, I do not have a target audience. I have always believed that the primary enjoyment in writing comes from composing the story, developing a plot and bringing in characters to make it all happen. It matters nothing if anyone ever reads the story or not. If they do and if they enjoy what has been written then that is a bonus.

This story does have a target audience, my grandson. He will be seven years old in May 2017 but with a reading age about two years in advance of that. In writing, therefore, I am trying to use words and style that he will be able to read on his own and without any help.

Adam has a wit which is as sharp as a razor so in writing I am trying to play to this. In his picture he may look as if butter would not melt in his mouth but, trust me, he is not like that at all.

When I was just a little bit older than Adam there was on childrens' TV a programme called Fireball XL5. I took the theme tune from this and added it to one of the collections on my YouTube channel.

First thing one Friday morning I popped up to my local supermarket. Turning on the CD player the theme tune from this song blasted out into the car. Walking round the supermarket an idea for a story filled my mind. As soon as the shopping was in the boot and I was back in the driver's seat I played it again. The moment I got home I typed up the introduction.

Then I turned to Destiny and asked if I was meant to write this tale or not. I was told to see if I could purchase the website domain name If I could then write I had to do. NO that was not available BUT was. I waved my Visa card at the laptop so now own the domain and am committed to writing the tale. A tale inspired by the music.

On the way to school one morning I played the Fireball XL5 theme on the car CD then gave the initial introduction I had written to Adam so he could read it.  If he said it was a load of rubbish that would be the end of it and I would have wasted the money buying a domain name for it.  Fingers crossed I looked into the mirror as we drove along.

Then I suggested he could draw pictured to illustrate the story. "My mind is already full of ideas," he said.

But the really big thrill came, this is why I am so excited, when I saw him run off to a group of his friends outside the school and point to me. He told them about our story.

But everything stopped there ! Adam has grown up, will I finish the story ? Probably not but you can read what I did write by clicking on the title cover above.

Now here's something I really do want to finish ! Yes I do want to finish it, I even plan to finish it but as I type this page I have lost my inspiration for the story, I am not in the right mood.

Again click the book title and see what you think of the story so far. Drop me a line and see if you can encourage me to pick up the story again.

There are three chapters in my book The Case Files of Dave McDermott. Reading this book you could easily think I am not the writer, the style is very different to my normal way of telling a story and developing a plot. This is my first and so far only attempt at writing crime fiction. I have to say it has given me great pleasure.

I have two more cases waiting for Dave McDermott to investigate: Robin Hood and The Lottery Of Evil. Right now I am working on The Lottery Of Evil. The text is below, have a read and I would very much value your thoughts.


There were six of them. Their total ages added up to one hundred and sixty-eight. An average of twenty-eight years.

He put his hand into the bag and pulled out a number, the first number in the lottery of evil.

“Number two. The Duke. Fetch Him.”

Detective Inspector Dave McDermott stroked the side of his temple as he thought. He ran his tongue across his upper teeth to help him put the words he wanted to say into the right order. He then gave a faint grin or was it a frown ?

“Is this a major incident ?”

“It could be. It is a murder so it could be classed as a major incident. I hope it is just a murder.”

“Then why - ?”

The Chief Superintendent held up a hand to stop his junior colleague. He respected McDermott, he had unique skills as a detective which were needed here. “Inspector Bishton having suddenly resigned I think this case would be better handled by your team.

“With respect Sir, this is a gang killing, one less dealer on the streets. I don’t see how that make this a major incident.”

Mr Y unlocked the cage, pointed a gun and indicated for The Duke to crawl out then stand up. The others looked on.

With The Duke’s prison cage now empty Mr X passed it by then stood slowly in front of the other five, one by one in turn glaring at the occupant. “We are going,” he said, “to remove the tape across your mouths so we can speak with you. You will need to eat and to drink but The Duke here will demonstrate to you what will happen if you abuse the privilege or refuse to obey immediately each and every order Mr Y or I, Mr X, give to you.”

The Duke felt the muzzle of the gun touch his naked buttock. The pain was only exceeded in magnitude by the deafening sound of the explosion echoing round the room. The tape across his mouth prevented The Duke from screaming in pain. He felt the two other shots, he heard them but there was no pain. His mind momentarily began to race and then it was still.

“Three wounds, Inspector,” the pathologist said. “This is probably the first or it could be the second. Entry into the flesh of the buttock, I would have expected the bullet to have lodged in the pelvis, strange that, I’ll know more when I open him up and find the bullet from the third shot. Turn him over.”  He nodded to the t wo male attendants.

“See, here’s the exit wound.” He pointed to the groin. “I am surprised the pelvis did not halt the bullet’s progress. As you can see it missed his manhood which would not have been a lot of use to him following the third and fatal shot.”

Dave McDermott’s professionalism did not appreciate the attempt at humour.

“The second shot, if I am right in their order, was to the left bicep entering from the rear and exiting straight away. He would have fallen forward and to his right from that first shot to the buttock. Judging from the exit wound I think his arm was held up when that shot was fired.”

“Was he naked during the attack ?”

“Most certainly, there are no signs of fabric fibres in any of the wounds.”

Dave nodded. As he viewed the naked body it was obvious beyond doubt this murder was drug related. Not that he needed the needle marks as evidence.

“He was turned over for the fatal shot. I am thinking the fatal shot did not kill him instantly, again I will know more and can give you my full report once I have opened him up. I very much doubt death was instantaneous, he would have been unconscious but I bet it took more than an hour for him to die.”

One less addict. An estimated two hundred and seventy thousand addicts in England and two and a half thousand drug related deaths during the previous year. But this was murder. Why kill and addict, a customer ? Many reasons, Dave would need to uncover the motive if he was going to find the killer. Unofficially there was no political will to solve drug related crimes, that was no doubt a frustration to Inspector Bishton and his team. Perhaps the powers that be had given Inspector Dave McDermott this case to change the apathy pf those politicians. But the one and only exhibit found at the scene made it clear the victim was more than an addict.

Pete wanted to scream but dared not. He wanted to avert his eyes but feared if he did so the same fate would, indeed would, befall him. What was going to be his fate ?  What would be his end ?

“He does not have a criminal record,” Dave said to the team, “but he is known to us – so they tell me anyway.”

He pointed to the post-mortem image on the board. “Graham Jones, age thirty-six, suspected of being a drug runner but intelligence has not recorded any indication as to who he was delivering drugs for. A user.”

Dave considered fact that ex-Inspector Bishton had more in his head and memory than was recorded on the computer.

“There will be DNA on the one item found with him but I am not optimistic.”

“Do not fear,” Mr X sneered, “the next winner in our lotters will not face quite that drama. We will wait twenty-four hours before deciding who that lucky winner will be.”

Lucky number one in the lottery of evil. May you be consumed in the fires of hell.

“They may be able to tell us the make of the printer used but that is not going to be a lot of help. DNA ?Don’t get your hopes up. The note has been laminated. If they can lift the laminate there may be something but  I doubt it. Lucky number one in the lottery of evil. May you be consumed in the fires of hell.”

“A drug related murder ? A gang killing ?  He was a user and he was a runner.”

Dave nodded. “But this is just a runner, such a brutal killing does not make a lot of sense although by instinct is telling me this is a revenge killing.”

“He was not killed where he was found.” The team brainstorming continued.

“Apparently not. Cleverly dumped in a car park adjacent to the canal as it runs north of the town centre.  No cctv anywhere close but then the 999 call to tell us he was there.”

This was a drug gang killing, one gang moving to take over the operation of another. Put the gang out of business by taking out the runner to scare off the others. But what about the notice ? Lucky number one in the lottery of evil. May you be consumed in the fires of hell.”

“Who did this Graham Jones, the Duke, work for ? Who else does the dealer have working for him ? If there is a lottery and The Duke was number one who will be number two, three, four, more ? Dave knew that most dealers ran their operation with several runners across the day. He needed to speak with Inspector Bishton.

“No idea where he is.”

“But Sir I need to speak with him.”

“He said he was taking a year abroad. I am not sure how much money he inherited, a few million I believe, so the police service and a pension are no longer of any interest to him. I get the feeling he did not enjoy his job.”

“Well I wish he had left us the content of his mind before he left.”

Dave cast his mind back to his first case, he was a mere detective constable then. The first victim of serial killer Timothy Ford. There was a similar brutality. Ford had a motive, a justifiable motive if such existed, could there be a similar motivation ?  No, the killing of The Duke was more straightforward.

One by one they were moved from their cages at gun point. Use the toilet, take a shower, those who needed a fix were given it, a glass of milk and a slice of bread before being locked up again.

“You ! You are not going back,” X said to Skinny Pete. “You are lucky winner number two in our lottery of evil. Prepare to receive our prize”

Seventeen year old Skinny Pete went white with fear.

“Do not worry, you are not going to die. This will hurt but you are not going to die.”

Y approached him then with a total lack of skill in the art of tattooing. He carved I am a drug dealer down the length of each arm, on his forehead and across his chest.

I am not a drug dealer, Pete was screaming inside his head. I do not use drugs, I do not sell them, I am only the guy who delivers them. I am innocent and now I am going to die just like the other one.

“The medics have looked you over,” Dave explained. “Your bottom is a bit of a mess but it’s nothing that did not once upon a time happen to every schoolboy in England.”

“I am a schoolboy,” Pete explained. “I was only doing what I was doing to get money for university. Now look at me !  My arse is on fire and I have tattoos all over my body.”

“Tattoos can be removed, it will hurt a bit but it can be done.”

“Can’t hurt as much as my arse is hurting right now.”

Dave smiled trying to reassure the lad. “So which university are you going to ?”

“Aston in Birmingham, if I get my grades.” He then added, “And if I go not get sent to gaol.”

“That is not going to happen. You are not here under arrest but as a witness. We need to get you some proper clothes to wear, tell your family you are safe and then put you into witness protection.”

“I want you to get the two who did this to me then I want you to get the dealer who set me up for it all. I am only an errand boy you know. There’s another four errand boys waiting.”

“Sergeant. get Peter some clothes, time to get hi out of this plastic suit then we’ll send out for a takeaway. What do you fancy ?”

“Fish and chips.”

The call came in before the food arrived. That call announced the third victim in the lottery of evil.

Victim number three, how many more would there be ? Pete had suggested a total of six so three sown and three to go. Dave McDermott had worked at learning how to delegate and stop trying to do everything alone but he could not stop holding all case information inside his own thinking.

“Sir, we have three separate cases, I believe there will be three more if we can not get to the bottom of everything. I am asking you to second the officers in ex-Inspector Bishton’s team to my team. I would like to assign a sergeant and a constable to each of the three cases we have while I will oversee the entire major incident with my own bagman,”

“So you admit this is a major incident ?”


“Three victims, you and your bagman, that’s eight people. What are you going to do when victim number four comes in ?”

“We need to solve everything before that happens.”

The Chief Superintendent doubted the case could be solved in such a time frame but if there was an officer within his command in whom he had the utmost faith it was Detective Inspector David McDermott.

So it was that Detective Inspector Dave McDermott becae head of the combined drug and major incident team with Sergeant Ripley as his bagman assistant. Sergeant Toll was put in charge of victim one, The Duke. Sergeant Mather, Skinny Pete and Sergeant Richards the new victim number three.

Dave laughed as Sergeant Susan Ripley explained. “Susan Ripley became ripple, became raspberry ripple, became Raspberry so Sergeant raspberry reporting for duty Sir.”

“I am sure you will make a great bagman, I mean bag lady,” Dave giggled. “So let’s take a look at what we have.”



© Max Robinson