Leathan Wilkey has been hired to babysit Clementina, a seventeen-year-old whose rich daddy is going through a messy divorce and is over-compensating.
Leathan soon tires of her spending habits, her selfie obsession, and her social media preoccupation as his ward drags him from shop to boutique to jeweler, approaching each with the self-possession that comes from a lifetime of getting her own way and never once having to worry about money.
But when Clementina snaps her fingers and her boyfriend doesn’t come running, something is up. He doesn’t appear because he’s been murdered.
When Leathan investigates, he finds that the boyfriend has no background and met Clementina through a connection made by daddy’s business partner.
Daddy’s business partner who has been slowly and progressively putting daddy in a vice, grabbing more of the business, and who is now menacing Clementina directly to manipulate daddy.
Clementina was clearly offended.
Offended by my apparently uncouth utterance. Offended that I was not paying due reverence. Offended that I was thinking money, when I should be appreciating the art. Offended in the way that only a seventeen-year-old can be offended.
She was able simultaneously to be both a child and a world-weary adult. Neither of whom was accepting of my situation; both of whom were deeply saddened by my obvious circumstances.
She was saddened that I could live in a world like this.
Some people are saddened about famine in Africa. Some are saddened about wars or religious fundamentalists imposing their unyielding doctrines on populations, killing and mutilating children and innocent adults. Clementina was saddened and offended—on my behalf—that the world of jewelry and the exquisite pleasure of fine gems set in delicate pieces of lovingly shaped precious metal had been withheld from me.
She knew—as only one who had been indoctrinated into the secret society knew—that if I had been exposed to the world of bijouterie, then I would appreciate the treat that was waiting for me.
What she didn’t know was that I hated being patronized by seventeen-year-olds. Even if their father was paying me. Not that her father and I had actually done anything as tedious as agreeing a fee.
Or talking. Even on the phone.
What are four things you can’t live without?
Oxygen, food, sleep, and the internet.
What is your favorite television show?
The Wire, followed by Justified.
If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why?
Honestly? I wouldn’t. I’m happy being me and have enough trouble keeping my own characters in line without worrying about someone else’s characters.
What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?
After Clementina, there are two more Leathan Wilkey/Paris books coming. The first is Diplomatic Baggage, the second, The Camera.
I’ll put up details on my website (simoncann.com) as soon as they’re available for pre-order. If you join my readers group mailing list (details are at the top of the home page on my website) I’ll let you know as soon as the next books are out. If you join the readers’ group, I’ll also send you my free introductory library.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Frederick Forsyth—everything he’s written and Robert Harris—most of his books, but in particular Fatherland. Both authors are masters of the intelligent modern thriller.
Simon Cann is the author of the Boniface, Montbretia Armstrong, and Leathan Wilkey series of books.
In addition to his fiction, Simon has written a range of music-related and business-related books, and has also worked as a ghostwriter.
Before turning full-time to writing, Simon spent nearly two decades as a management consultant, where his clients included aeronautical, pharmaceutical, defense, financial services, chemical, entertainment, and broadcasting companies.
He lives in London.
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