No 4096

Set by J Seery
Detective novels have been set in unlikely periods and places. We asked you to send in an excerpt for one set somewhere not seen before.

This week's winners
Well done. Hon menshes to John O'Byrne for "Inspector Norse" and Alanna Blake for the title "Another Death in the Wendy House". The winners get £25 each, with the Tesco vouchers also going to Richard Robinson . . .

Cromwell's republic
Tapping the pipe he so desperately wanted to smoke against the plain, worn table, Wartfinder found himself asking the same old questions:

“What were they wearing?" God, he needed a drink. God, he needed to say "God" out loud.

“Black, I think. Yes, black with a white neckerchief."

Wartfinder feigned interested surprise. "Anything else?"

“Why, yes! A hat!" said the wretched detainee. Wartfinder's men considered the rich seam of information suddenly in their possession.

“A hat, of course!" Wartfinder joined their party. "And the hat was . . . ?"

“Black! Definitely black!" rejoiced the wretch.

An hour later, the constable was berating him as usual. "No new evidence? This is typical of your attitude, Wartfinder."

“Attitude, sir?" he responded, fingering the pipe in his pocket.

“Yes, so . . . so Cavalier."
John Griffiths-Colby

The missing duck
Something bad was going down. I was eating yoghurt. Raspberry. I rolled it round my mouth and went through. Thomas stood by the sandpit, bloody-nosed. Sophie was looking wild. Her bunches had come out. She looked cute. "I want my duck," she whispered. "I WANT MY DUCK," she screamed.

Thomas picked up the yellow spade. I put my hand on his arm. "She wants her duck," I said.
He looked me in the eye. I stared back. "The duck's gone," he said, and ran away. I looked around. There were spots of blood in the sand and a smooth area in the corner. I dug in it. "Here's your duck," I said. Sophie came
over, grabbed it, and ran outside. I watched her go.
Richard Robinson

The next challenge No 4099 Set by Michael Cregan
The Church of England must shed its "Marks & Spencer" image, says the Bishop of Reading, as Jesus would "just as likely be in the queue at Asda or Aldi". We want a conversation between this bang-up-to-date Jesus and his fellow shoppers as they wait at the checkout.
Max 125 words by 22 October
comp@newstatesman.co.uk

This article first appeared in the 12 October 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Barack W Bush