We all have stories handed down to us from our parents and grandparents. I was lucky enough to meet my great grandfather. He was an amateur magician and his tricks impressed me in my early days. I can still see him sitting in his leather armchair, hiding a coin in a handkerchief and marvelling as he made it disappear right before my eyes.
One fable was, he snuck out of France with his wife after the Great War to escape angry relatives who disapproved of the union. Whatever the circumstance the romance of the story lived on in my imagination and sent me on a journey to redraw my heritage.
Stories seed themselves and grow in a remote corner of the mind and are sometimes visited when we dream. My current writing began to emerge a few years ago as an attempt to grab hold of this mysterious family story and take ownership. History, as they say, is written by the victors, and so I was determined to win this part of my family narrative.
None of the adventures in my black notebooks are a true interpretation of past events and they have sprung entirely from my imagination, the stories emerging almost fully formed from where the seeds had fallen.
A son of a successful stage magician, Stefan Basse was born on the road and raised among the wagons of a travelling show between Moscow to Paris. His parents had finally settled in Bayeux, Normandy, to retire and to finish Stefan’s education.
Defying his father’s ambition for a ‘gentlemanly’ career Stefan joins the Gendarmerie and leaves town to work in the capital city Paris, and then abroad in Guyana. He also leaves behind his true love and a tight circle of loyal friends.
After a decade away he returns to Bayeux to take the reins of the city’s Station House but discovers that his mother has died and not only are his father and step-mother missing, but his oldest friend is dead too, most likely murdered.
There is a winter wolf on the loose in the city…