A mysterious batch of diamonds that has lain undisturbed for almost a half-century, reappears to be sold at public auctions in Switzerland. But what is the true provenance of these priceless gems, and who is behind their discovery and sale?
Jenny Bishop believes they are notorious blood diamonds with a legacy of deceit, corruption and murder, and is drawn into a web of intrigue and threat as she tries to unravel a conspiracy that threatens everything she knows and loves.
Santa Monica, California
Ricardo Menendez’s iPhone alarm awakened him at 6:30
am. In fact, he’d been unable to sleep for most of the night and only fallen into a light doze around 4:00. By 7:30 he had shaved and showered, dressing in his dark blue suit with a red tie. Despite his Spanish origins, Ricardo was a conservative dresser, like everything else he did in life –
he didn’t like taking risks, not usually anyway. That was why he wasn’t married. He had gone out with some good-looking girls in college and afterwards, but the consensus seemed to be that he was an unadventurous bore and no woman in her right mind wanted to spend her life being bored.
He took his wallet, driver’s licence and car keys from the sideboard in the hall then opened the bottom drawer, took an item out and shoved it in the inside pocket of his jacket. In the mirror, he saw the bulge and transferred it to the side pocket. Lastly, he folded the letter and placed it inside a manila file with an elastic band around it that already contained some documents; a stamped, addressed envelope and several items of correspondence. He’d reread the letter a couple of times while he was getting ready and it was now covered with notes in his untidy scrawl. His Ford was in front of the building and at 8:00 he parked it at the diner on the corner of Overland and Regent Street.
He checked the stamps on the envelope, kissed the seal and pushed it into the nearby post box, then walked into the diner, the file in his hand. The teenage waitress placed a mug of coffee in front of him and went to the kitchen with his order. He glanced around at the other customers; they were all eating, reading newspapers or looking at phones. He gazed out the window at the park on the other side of the street.
It was a bright, clear morning and several dog owners were walking their pets around the park. He regretted that he’d never owned a pet. Not a cat, they were far too independent and sure of themselves. A small to medium sized dog would have been good company for him and he would have enjoyed looking after it. He was a very tidy and well-organised man and apart from this last experience his life had been without any major disruptions. A dog would probably have enjoyed the stability and routine he’d established.
The girl came back with his eggs, bacon and pancakes and he poured a generous dose of syrup over the meal then devoured it greedily, feeling hungrier than he had for some time. He pushed the empty plate aside and put his glasses on, sitting with another mug of coffee, checking the items from the file and reading the letter one more time. He could have recited the contents from memory, so many times had he gone through it word for word, looking for some meaning that might have escaped him. But there was none and even if there had been he knew it would make no difference in the end.
Thank you, Christopher Lowery and LoveBooksGroup
About the author
Christopher Lowery is a ‘Geordie’, born in the northeast of England, who graduated in finance and economics after reluctantly giving up career choices in professional golf and rock & roll. Chris left the UK for Switzerland in 1966 and has lived and worked in six different countries over the last 50 years. He was a real estate developer and Telecoms/Internet entrepreneur and inventor and has created several successful companies around the world, notably Interoute Communications, now Europe’s largest cloud services platform provider and Wyless Group, now part of Kore Telematics, one of the world’s largest Internet of Things providers.
In 2014, Chris started writing historically/factually based thrillers and the first two volumes of his African Diamonds Trilogy – The Angolan Clan & The Rwandan Hostage, were published by Urbane Publications, a UK publisher. These books are based upon his family’s experiences during the Portuguese Revolution of the Carnations of 1974 and his daughter’s work as a delegate with the ICRC in Rwanda in 1996. The third volume, The Dark Web, was published in April 2018, and draws on his experience as one of the creators of The Internet of Things, between 2002 and 2016. His fourth book, The Mosul Legacy, an unrelated story, will be published in September 2018. His illustrated All About Jack stories for children are written in humorous verse, and were published privately.