Sophie James Novels

He paused. Agatha dug her nails into her palm, her face quite calm, the usual mask. She didn’t wear it regretfully, she wasn’t absolutely unhappy. But they had got married in Egypt where she had gone out to be a nurse and he was staying on vacation with his brother in Alexandria. It had all been a bit whirlwind; she had not thought it through. She blamed the ruins of Ptolemy. Bit had been very old fashioned and had not made love to her until they had exchanged vows, but he had turned out to be a disappointing lover and a level of frustration was building up. ‘Did you say someone recommended him?’ she asked, turning the conversation.

‘Actually several people at camp, the army must know him. Funny that. Then Aunty suddenly collared me last Sunday at church to have him up as well. You weren’t there last Sunday were you darling?’

‘I had a fever,’ she lied.

‘He is apparently an Asian expert, anthropologist, archaeologist - that type of thing. He seems to have swapped Africa for India, perhaps he likes a bit of colour. Certainly in the right place for it. Something new indeed…’



‘Who is new?’ a voice called shrilly from the garden path that led into the bungalow. ‘What is new? I am so old that these new things must not be allowed to pass me by!’

It was Aunty and she came along the path in such a way that showed she wasn’t so old at all. Agatha had once put her at fifty years odd but now she wasn’t so sure, the Indian sun had made leather of her skin and she dressed in a peculiar unlikely fashion, neither native nor European.

‘A chair,’ Aunty stated now, ‘We need another chair!’ She kissed Bit and looked around the top garden admiringly. There were a dozen more pots of pink bougainvillea there than her last visit, put up by Agatha against Bit’s liking. That girl was dangerous. She wasn’t of course, anyone’s Aunty at all but the community had adopted her because she was a well-known spinster who despite being German – half German - had never done anyone any harm. She had a habit of turning up at every function. Of course her nationality had caused some discomfort originally when the war broke out, but for the moment it had seemed to settle. She was mystical but no one took her mysticism seriously.