Vintage folder on desk with Deleted Scenes stamped across it

Deleted Scenes from Book 8, Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs

Welcome to the desk on which reposes my top secret file. Hopefully, you will be sitting here after you have read Book 8 and are curious about what goes on in the editing room. If not, this folder is rich in spoilers and you will certainly enjoy it far more once you've read the book.

Why are there no deleted scenes from previous book? Because I've never deleted a scene before that I haven't used in a subsequent book, so this is all very new and wonderful for me too. I hope you enjoy the insights these rare outtakes contain. Please let me know.

Joan's Story

Joan explains to Amanda why helping is a personal mission because of an experience she had. But we're not told what it was. Here it is revealed. It was deleted because I felt that the scenes with Joan were too lengthy and also to cut down on the page count of the whole book.

Alfie: Harold's Story

You may be curious as to why Harold turned out the way he did. Here, his former schoolmate Alfie tells all to Thomas. Again the ended up on the cutting floor so that the overall story wouldn't be too long.

Sylvia's Romantic Past

Wondered what Syvlia was going to say regarding why her romance with her bearded suitor did not end at the altar? Deleted because I thought it might be possibly be too risqué for some readers and give away a little too much about Syvia's adventurous past. (Please let me know if you think I should have left it in!)

Chapter 23 Joan’s Story

Well, this was years ago mark you, and just Jim and me knew and of course… your grandpa and I expect your grandma too. But I had a ….’

‘A bit of a dip, in her confidence,’ explained Jim

Amanda looked at Joan in surprise, who nodded.

‘Oh yes. See, most of my customers are lovely; time of day, tell me their bits and pieces, I do a bit of shopping for some, pick up a prescription for those as can’t get out, and have a laugh and a chat. And some treat me like I’m Father Christmas some days. But there are… it’s rare but ….’

‘The Hodgers,’ Jim supplied. ‘One of their letters arrived in less than mint condition. It was very important to them and they wanted to frame it and put in on the wall. I don’t know what it was but some such. Anyway …’ He looked at his wife encouraging her to continue.

‘Letters,’ explained Joan, ‘well, they go through quite a bit between post box and letter box, you know. And we do our best but things can get a bit compromised and if you let the Post Office know they will compensate you. But no, these two they had a right old go at me, Amanda, you have no idea.’

‘How dreadful’ replied Amanda in consternation

‘The awful thing was,’ added Jim, ‘that they wouldn’t let it go. Were at my Joannie about it every time they saw her after that. Wouldn’t let me go and talk to them.’

‘In the end I had to let the Post Office know I was being, well … not treated very nice. But anyway, they moved away after that.’

‘But the damage was done,’ said Jim, ‘and there was my Joanie wondering if she should find another line of work or whether she’d ever be good at anything again.’

Joan nodded. ‘It’s true, dear. But my Jim, you made me go, didn’t you?’

‘Yes, I said you’ve got to take it to Perran or Senara and you’ve got to do it today. And I took her round there, and she talked to your grandpa, Amanda.’

Joan smiled a little. ‘And he listened, bless him, and he said a good lot of things that helped me. But one thing as always stuck in my mind: if you make what other people think of you the most important thing, then you’ll never be happy. Coz you can’t control what they think about you. One thing you can control is how you feel. And how you feel about yourself. and then …’

Amanda listened eagerly with glistening eyes, and Joan went on,

‘He gets me to make a list of things I like about myself, and then a list of all the nice things other people have said about me, even though it is other people. And then, he writes down in another colour on the same page, all the things I told him the Hodgers said about me.’

‘Ah, I see,’ Amanda acknowledged remembering this method of her grandfather’s, and how well it always worked for her.

‘Then he shows me the page and there’s this little column short for the Hodgers, and great long list for the good stuff that went right down the page and on to the back of the sheet!

‘Of course, there would be!’ smiled Amanda. Joan grinned back.

‘Well, that put me to rights. But I never forgot what he said about what I can control and what I can’t. SAd I’m not saying no one ever said a bad to word to me since, but I never let it get to me again.’

‘Oh I’m so glad, Joan. And I’m very happy that is was Grandpa who was able to help you. And yes, I do remember him saying the same thing to me.’

‘Yes dear. But here’s the thing. I don’t think Janet ever had a Perran or she never felt she had a problem or never said anything to her husband` who might have done what my Jim did for me and take her to a Perran` who’d say just the right words to her. So that’s why I want to help her. All I can.’

‘I understand. So … so… you don’t think Janet has anything to do with the death at the priory?’

Joan was definite, No, dear. I mean, the idea of a professional conscientious woman of her age going around clobbering people on the nut with rocks? No, I think she’s a woman with a mission, yes, but her mission was building bridges with us. Janet just wants to prove to herself that she can connect with family. ‘

‘I see. Thank you both for your help and your insights.’

‘That’s all right, dear.’

‘And of course, I won’t share what you’ve told me about your dip with anyone,’ Amanda promised.

But Joan had regained her customary cheerful demeanour and raised her chin decisively. ‘You know what? I wouldn’t mind if you did. Might help someone else. Funny how I’ve felt I needed to keep it to myself all these years, but now .. no, I don’t mind at all. We all have our ups and downs. What makes us human. So that’s all right, dear. If you meet somewhat who needs a bit of encouragement in the same way, you just tell them about Joan!’

Alfie

There was a knock at the door. Irene was on the mat.

‘Inspector, I found this fine young man at the door. He would like to speak with you.’

‘Hello, I’m Alfie,’

‘Hello Alfie,’ Trelawney greeted him kindly. ‘Thank you for coming to see me. Thank you, Irene.’ Smiled and moved off to resume her work. He turned back to his visitor, saying, ‘Come in.’

The inspector welcomed Alfie into the office, moved a chair to the side of the desk and invited him to take a seat.

‘Thanks’, said Alfie looking around, with some surprise at the friendly-looking surroundings. His eyes moved from the bay window to the green leather in the desk then up to the picturesque art on the wall of a what used to be the Stockbridge village police station. There was another of The Elms.

‘That’s nice’, said Alfie.

‘Isn’t it? A present from Jonathan, the assistant —’

‘Librarian, yeah. He does the photographs, doesn’t he?’

Clearly the young man wasn’t quite ready to deliver the purpose of his visit, but the pace of Cornwall and Trelawney’s legendary patience in the context of duty stood him in good stead.

‘That’s right. He took a photograph of this house, enhanced it in various ways and then, using some graphics software, transformed it in to water colour and had it printed for me.’

‘Awesome. That’s what I want to study,’ Alfie responded eagerly. Then grinned. ‘I mean I’m going to study starting September.’

‘Computer graphics?’

‘Yeah’.

‘It’s a booming industry. I expect you’ll be part of great things, Alfie.’

Thanks …. The young man fell silent and look at his hands for while, then said,

‘I just wanted to tell you something. About Harold.’

‘Please do, Alfie,’ Trelawney replied gently.

‘Well, I jus’ don’t want people thinking he was this like twisted teenager you know? Gone off the rails, got in with a bad crowd and all that. And it’s just that with all the when-did-you-last-see and do-you-know-of-anyone and all that, well ,no one ever asked me. I mean they might have asked other people but no ever asked me about what happened to him. I mean why he went like he did; all sorta mean and angry and like he was all full of himself, you know?’

Trelawney nodded. ‘I expect you’re right. Maybe someone should have asked. Well, then, I’m asking now: do you know, Alfie what made him change from the person his mother said he used to be to person he became when he was killed?’

‘Ok ,right, so in year 8, right? There was this girl, yeah? I don’t wanna say her name and nothin’ coz, well, she’s prolly really sorry now and it was like ages ago, so I’ll just call her “Caitlin.”’

‘Ok,’ Trelawney agreed.

‘So, he really, really had this thing about her and, one day, me and Jack were with him and she was standing a bit apart from her friends by the lockers. He got up the guts to ask her out for coke or whatever. And she just turns to her friends and then says all loudly so everyone can hear,

“You asking me out? Well I would … if you weren’t so ugly!” And her friends are all laughing, and other people too. And all right most of us aren’t that much to look at at that age, except for Connor who’s always had the looks, but, you know? She coulda just said, no thank you but thanks for asking, you know? I know she was just trying to impress her gaggle, as my gran calls them. You know what a lot of them a like, going round in groups like they do.

Trelawney’s mind readily flashed back to the Parhayle troupe. ‘I do recall much the same from my own schooldays.’

‘Right. So anyway, he didn’t say much at the time but he never let it go. I mean, over the years. And then suddenly he got tall and fit and started doing weights and his skin cleared up and then it was a different story. And I gotta say, yeah, he did use it, and he went over the top, like it was all about him and like the world owed him everything and … She shouldn’t have said that.’

‘No, you’re right, Alfie, she shouldn’t.’

‘But I don’t want to get her into trouble or anything coz she didn’t know what it would do and really, well, my dad says, and I think he’s right, Harold didn’t need to let it get to him like that. And my dad says we’re responsible for how we react to what people say and how we feel, and I think maybe he’s right. Coz Harold just kept telling the story of that over and over and making it worse and worse and winding himself up, until he was pushing us all away. But he wasn’t a bad person,’ Alfie insisted earnestly, ‘honest, Inspector. He didn’t deserve what happened to him.’

Trelawney exhale and nodded understandingly. I agree, Alfie. Thank you for coming here today to and telling me.’

‘I want people to know. Could you put it in your file?’ asked Alfie entreatingly.  ‘What I just told you?’

‘Of course,’ Trelawney responded readily. ‘Would you like write it?’

‘Not really. Just put what I told you, if that’s ok.’

‘Sure.’

Alfie breathed a sigh of relief.

‘Glad I got that off my chest.’

‘I’m glad too. Erm …. ‘ Trelawney paused and Alfie looked at him expectantly. ‘Would you like to do another good deed, and tell Harold’s parents? I think it would mean a very great deal to them.’

This was met with silence

‘I could do it if you prefer,’ Thomas offered.

Alfie came to a decision.

‘No … no all right. I’ll do it.’ He stood up. ‘I think I’ll go and see them now.’

‘Ok.’ Trelawney rose too, and shook Alfie’s hand. ‘Good luck with you studies’.

‘Thanks.’

Thomas saw him to the door. ‘Where are you planning to …?’

‘Middlesex. it’s just down the road and I can live at home. Cheaper and,’ — he grinned — ‘I get my washing done for me. I gotta help with the cooking though. And my family, well, yeah, they drive me crazy sometimes but … s’pose they’re all right. So I’ll be around.’

‘See you around, Alfie,’ answered Trelawney with a smile.

‘Seeya, Inspector. And thanks … for listening.’

‘Any time.’

From Chapter 22 (Context)

The Big Tease, Beards, and Temptation

‘Oh, don't tell me,’ said Joan, to whom Amanda had given a lift. She was just there to drop in and deliver Jim’s strawberry tarts and also some butter tarts he’d made from a recipe sent to him by a dear Canadian friend. ‘My Jim said he was thinking of growing a bit of a beard, and I said, “Well, your face is your own, and you must please yourself, but don’t try and kiss me. In fact, don’t come near me with it. If I want to take a cheese grater to my sensitive complexion”,’ she added, running her fingers along her sun-and-wind-weathered cheek, ‘“I’ve got a perfectly good one in the kitchen, thank you very much.” And that’s what I told him.’

‘I take it that he dismissed the notion?’ hazarded Dennis.

‘He did. His choice, mind,’ answered Joan with aplomb.

‘Indeed,’ Dennis commented with a grin.

‘Oh,’ Sylvia chimed in comfortably as Amanda and Trelawney sat down at a table by the window, ‘it’s just a passing fad.’

‘Like bellbottoms,’ Alexander called from behind the counter.

‘Or flapper dresses,’ suggested Dennis, happily visualising what was, in his imagination, the highlight of the 1920s.

‘It’s just a fashion,’ Sylvia went on. ‘Well, I don’t mind a beard. My second husband – or was it my third? … No, I tell a lie. It were an “in-between.” ’Ad a beard. Lovely man, ’e was.’

‘It didn’t end at the altar, though?’ asked Dennis.

‘No, is ’w-but that’s a story as’ll keep for another time.’

(Deleted)

‘ No, ‘is wife come back, you see. She ‘ad left ’im or … was that the other one? Anyway I said ‘im, “you try and make a go of it, dearie”. I left ‘im a momento: my silk … or was that …? Oh, it blurs into one at my time ‘o life, but yes, it’s just a fashion.’



Chapter 01

It was a blissfully sunny August Sunday, and, as the villagers expected, Amanda Cadabra and her irascible feline companion were making their way towards their favourite picnic spot. Jonathan, the dazzlingly handsome but incurably shy assistant librarian, had raised a hand in greeting as they’d passed.

Amanda Cadabra and The Nightstairs

Chapter 01

It was a blissfully sunny August Sunday, and, as the villagers expected, Amanda Cadabra and her irascible feline companion were making their way towards their favourite picnic spot. Jonathan, the dazzlingly handsome but incurably shy assistant librarian, had raised a hand in greeting as they’d passed.

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