The four friends sat in the pale moonlight beside a flickering fire. The youngest of them was just short of thirty, the others led by four or five. They had long met in this clearing by the marshes, surrounded on all sides by woods. As the darkness grew heavier, their thoughts turned inward to the Marsh Fiend of Vetiver and Thyme. She travelled alone like a ghost far from home luring travelers to her side. And once they had seen her and gazed quietly at her while she smiled her forlorn smile.
Have you ever been in that mood in an airport bookstore, or maybe when you have insomnia, and you just want a book to read, any book, that makes you forget yourself and while away an hour or two?
It sat on the shelf like a glowering menace, dusty with age and disuse and fine cobwebs like a gauzy shroud. Even buried as it was behind apothecary jars and pestles, it was still the first thing the visitors to the six hundred-year-old museum wanted to touch.
I had just settled down for a nice little nap
On my commodious couch before afternoon tea
When Raymond burst through in an extraordinary flap
And upset my prescribed-for-detectives routine.