I have something super special for you today!
To celebrate the upcoming release of The Violent Fae (Book 3 in the Ordshaw series by Phil Williams, the author has created twelve short stories – the Ordshaw vignettes – which will be shared across twelve lucky book blogs in the run up to release day.
I am thrilled to be Day 3 of this tour, and to be able to share with you the following short story, ‘The Concierge’, as an appetiser for Phil’s novels. But first, just a little bit about the tour and the stories…
To celebrate the release of The Violent Fae, the closing chapter of the Ordshaw series’ The Sunken City Trilogy, Phil Williams is sharing twelve short stories from the city of Ordshaw. The Ordshaw Vignettes are tiny insights into life in the UK’s worst-behaved city, each presenting a self-contained mystery.
About Ordshaw and The Violent Fae
The Ordshaw series are urban fantasy thrillers set in a modern UK city with more than a few terrible secrets. The Violent Fae completes a story that began with Under Ordshaw and its sequel Blue Angel – following poker player Pax Kuranes’ journey into the Ordshaw underworld. Over the space of one week, Pax unravels mysteries that warp reality and threaten the entire city.
Blurb: They hid among us, until she exposed them.
They’ll destroy everything to be hidden again.
Pax is discovering that the smallest mistakes can have the deadliest impact. To protect her city, she’s uncovered monstrous truths and involved terrible people. The consequences are coming for her.
The Sunken City is unstable. The Fae are armed for war.
Can Pax stop the coming disaster?
In this closing chapter of the Sunken City trilogy, Williams weaves the complex strands of Pax’s misadventure into a truly thrilling conclusion.
Get it now!
So without further delay… ‘The Concierge’ by Phil Williams:
“Property to the tune of £11,654 is unaccounted for,” Albert Sinclair presented his final tally. It was hard to be certain, estimating missing millimetres of Louis XIII brandy and tallying items lost by gentlemen who might not notice mislaying a four-figure Montblanc pen. Then, the sum was almost negligible; it was the principle that property was being stolen at the Baudelaire Club that counted.
“Over a period of three months,” Jacob Culthwait, the manager, mused, middle finger tapping his leather desk pad. A similar one had gone missing from the Hawthorn Office. £349.
“Indeed, sir,” Sinclair said. “Mostly from camera blind spots. And with Mr Dulwich’s cigar case, there was a recording glitch.”
Culthwait’s lip curled with distaste.
Sinclair knew that look. Staring at inevitable dismissal.
Four men had come and gone from Culthwait’s chair, while Sinclair’s seamless service as Head Concierge remained a constant. The managers schmoozed and schemed to entreat their clients’ strangest desires, but they always, eventually, caved under the pressure of Ordshaw’s most exclusive club. Mistaken wine orders, political scandal and plain exhaustion had cut down Culthwait’s predecessors. Yet he had weathered the trials better than most, innovative and genial in his problem solving; he even reached a compromise between the City Council and the Board regarding letting women in – an unthinkable act to many members. But if Sinclair was honest, a better boss was a little less sure of himself. Someone a little less certain, for example, might have avoided their current crisis with tighter security and more anal stocktaking.
In the face of failure, would Culthwait be a crier? Angry? Something else?
Sinclair, of course, maintained an entirely neutral facade. He accompanied men through tears and vomit, hysterical fits, all the worst behaviours safely expressed behind Baudelaire’s doors. He would say nothing or offer consolation, as was fit, and never draw attention to himself.
“The cleaning staff, of course …” Culthwait started.
“There is no pattern to the thefts that singles out any single person, or even small team. Not amongst the house staff, the cleaners, caterers, or security. Only ourselves, sir, have had the full access required.”
“And neither of us with the slightest lick of motive for such trinkets,” Culthwait replied. “But that won’t matter to the Board. By process of elimination …”
He let the sad truth surround them.
Sinclair remained professionally impassive. He had exposed theft, bribery, and lewd behaviour from staff before. Rarely did they commit a second infraction. But this spate of crimes hadn’t even been noticed before Mr Dulwich realised he had been robbed. The thief, or thieves, knew exactly what they were doing, swiping only when they could not be seen. Taking things that weren’t missed for days, even weeks. It could have been anyone, or no one at all. And Sinclair expected the coming private investigators would fare no better than him in finding the culprit. Really, it would not matter if they did.
Culthwait rightly concluded, “The damage is done, the thief’s identity scarcely matters now the Club must atone.”
“Regrettably, sir,” Sinclair said, “that appears to be where we find ourselves.”
“After all, involved or not, the manager is responsible.” Culthwait reclined, interlacing his fingers, eyes going to his desk drawer. In days gone by, past managers kept prized pistols there, another way to escape the shame of failure. Now, it held club stationery, paper on which resignations could be made official. Noble Culthwait, time to fall on the sword.
“Shall I prepare the memorandum, sir?” The one, only way to ease this pain.
“Oh I don’t think that would be appropriate from you, do you?” Culthwait said. Sinclair’s facade faltered as it never did. “In the interests of maintaining our image, apologies, compensation and consequences will be metred out privately. No charges brought. All I ask, honestly, Sinclair, is that you tell me why you did it?”
The Violent Fae releases on 5th November – preorder it here!