(#78 Enchantment)

By Stephanie


Disclaimer:  As always, this is just for fun!   I do not own the characters of Jessica Fletcher or George Sutherland. They belong to Universal and Donald Bain.  And like everyone else who is participating in this Writer’s Challenge, my intent is not to infringe on anyone’s copyright, nor is it to make any money.

Author’s note: This fan fic 100 is adapted from Donald Bain’s “Murder on Parade,” a book in which Mr. Bain mentioned more than once just how hot it was. It is also kind of a cross between “stream-of-consciousness” piece and Jessica talking to you, the reader as though you were actually visiting her in her home.


I settled in to do what I’d planned to do, catch up on correspondence. Most of it was in the form of e-mails, which I find frustrating. After deleting dozens unwanted messages from charlatans looking to sell something – or to inject a virus into my computer should I be foolish enough to open their attachments – I set about responding to legitimate messages. As a former English teacher, I admit to impatience with sloppy writing, and e-mails certainly encourage it. People dash off messages without having the opportunity to see what they’ve written on paper before sending it, and the mistakes in much of their writing testify to the problem with this. While I respond to e-mails with my own e-mails, I also try to send notes by “snail mail.” Why? Because going to the mailbox, pulling out an envelope, opening it, and reading what’s inside is infinitely more pleasurable than reading what comes up on a computer screen. At least it is for me and for a number of my friends.

One such friend is Chief Inspector George Sutherland of Scotland Yard. George rarely e-mails; and when he does I can be certain that he is working far too hard and doesn’t have time to ring me. George is one who much prefers the telephone or a handwritten letter, and I can always count on him to provide me with one of those infinitely more pleasurable experiences that I mentioned. 

He is witty, and urbane, and sincere. And I love him dearly. The only thing missing from his frequent letters is his deep, enchanting Scottish brogue. Despite the fact that his words are written I can almost hear his voice as I read. “’ello, Love,” he usually begins, his Scottish accent having changed over time by his many years of having lived and worked in London. 

Just the timbre of his voice speaks volumes, regardless of the actual words that are spoken. For example,  if his first words sound something like, “Awrite, loove,” I know that he is either in an extremely good mood or back at home in Wick, or both. It’s times like this when the sound of the Highlands completely washes away the slightly more refined English veneer that has become a part of his normal speech pattern. 

One moment, while I turn up the air a bit. There we go. That’s much better. 

Anyway, George and I first met in London several years ago. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say, it involved a murder. He was the lead investigator and I…well, I guess I was a suspect, at least initially. Under the guise of needing my assistance with the investigation, he invited me for Sunday afternoon tea at Brown’s Hotel. 

Did I mention that George is very intelligent and has a tremendous talent for interrogating a suspect without him (or her) actually realizing what he is doing? Well, he does. Not only is he witty and sincere but he is rather charming as well. That first time that we met I felt so relaxed and comfortable in his presence that it didn’t even dawn on me that I was actually a suspect until after the fact. 

To this day he denies it, claiming that he mentally crossed me off his list within minutes of our first meeting. That’s another thing about George - he’s a very good judge of people, and he’s very honest and direct. Perhaps that’s another reason that we hit it off so well. You could even say that there was a spar…a definite feeling of mutual admiration that began to blossom between us that first day. 

You’ll have to excuse me for a moment while I turn the air up a bit more. This heat wave is so stifling. Seven – that should do it. Now, where was I? 

Oh, yes, George. Just a few days ago we spoke on the telephone for nearly an hour, and when it was time to say goodbye, he teased me that we should both purchase video cameras for our home computers, saying that “Tois mair months is far tay lang a time tae manage withit seein' yer bonnie smile.” 

He is a dear, isn’t he? And you certainly can tell that he was in a jovial mood when we spoke. He has invited me to spend a week with him at Sutherland Castle when I visit London this fall – after I fulfill my commitments to my publisher, of course. The prospect of spending some quality time with him at his home in Scotland is…well, it is very appealing, especially with the current heat wave that we are experiencing.    

Are you comfortable enough? It seems to be growing warmer despite the air conditioner. I guess it’s going to be another scorcher today. There – I’ll just nudge it up to eight. Hopefully that will keep us cool enough.   

George’s ancestral home is a large stone castle located in the north of Scotland and thus tends to remain on the cool side, both indoors and out – a perfect respite from this heat. We will be visiting in the fall though, when it is much cooler. But even though the stone edifice is a bit chilly at times, being there with him has always made me feel comfortably warm and cozy…and oddly…very safe and secure. 

It has been three years since I first visited George in Wick. He is such a sweet man that he not only invited me to visit but also extended the invitation to include a rather large group of friends who accompanied me to London that year. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about George and me, as some of my women friends did. Admittedly, he is a very wonderful man, and very handsome – tall with broad shoulders and the most brilliant green eyes – but we are merely very good friends. Our relationship is definitely not of a romantic nature. Although…

Well…I guess I must admit that he has expressed his...well, his fondness for me, and if both of us weren’t so happily busy with our individual lives…and if there wasn’t an ocean between us…well, perhaps then we…

I do believe there is something wrong with this air conditioning unit. It should be plenty cool in here by now. I never imagined it would get so warm that I’d have to turn up full blast.