Canal Dreams came about from a kind of exercise I set for myself once; to find some nice enclosed setting for a thriller, or at least some tense story. I recalled the ships that were trapped at the southeast end of the Suez canal after the six-day war; I thought that would have been an interesting place for a story; limited, imprisoning, concentrating. I suppose I could have done a recent-history novel set there and then but that seemed pointless, so I thought of the world's other great canal, the Panama, and already knew that it had to be handed back at the turn of the century, and... well it all just fell into place.
I know I wanted politics in it and then I wanted some central character who wasn't a ship's officer, who had to be outside of the ship in some way. For some bizarre reason that got entangled with an idea I'd had of somebody being killed with a cello spike. Before I knew it the obvious thing seemed to be to make the central character a middle-aged lady Japanese cello virtuoso who was afraid of flying. It just seemed inevitable...
'Hello? Are you there? I saw was Beede on one of them?'
'No!' Kane snapped, exasperated. 'Beede was with me. I saw one horse. But the boy said that only by using two horses could you have managed the change-over so quickly. The swap. Like in a trick. A magic trick...'
'Swap? Who swapped?'
The German sounded terrified.
'You and the other man. The ...' Kane struggled to describe him, 'the strange ... the creepy ...'
'Which man?' The German rasped.
Kane closed his eyes and tried to visualise--
Black Yellow Black
He shuddered, 'The dark man ...'
And then he found himself hissing--'... Ssssssss!'
It was hissing--'Darkmansssss.'
Kane quickly clamped his errant lips shut--
How? What the ... ?!
Isidore hung up.
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