The Sinful Stones (The James Pibble Mysteries)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Ninety-two-year-old Sir Francis Francis summons James Pibble to an isolated island in the Hebrides to find out who pilfered the memoirs he was in the process of writing. The Nobel Prize–winning scientist was one of the builders of the first atom bomb. Is Francis senile? Paranoid? Was the manuscript really stolen? What’s the real reason he sent for Pibble?
As Pibble tries to untangle the mystery of the missing document, he starts to suspect that the devout millenarian religious sect inhabiting the island may be less virtuous than it seems; the community is strangely hell-bent on preventing Francis from ever leaving. It’s up to Pibble to seek out the truth and find his own salvation before the walls of Jericho come tumbling down forever.
Rita was plucking at Pibble’s sleeve, and he allowed himself to be led on, wincing now as he walked; but for his soreness he’d have liked to stay and see how the alliance of muscle and prayer coped with the formidable and risky manoeuvre of setting the huge stone into place. Brother Providence was walking along the cloisters towards them when they came round the next corner. “I’m afraid I’m late,” said Pibble. “I had a bit of a fall.” “Five minutes only, Superintendent. We have all learned to
of renunciation would be markedly smoother. No, Brother Simplicity no longer joined them in these disciplines, and neither did Sister Dorothy. They had never been sealed, but when Simplicity had made his final throw and gone to the ultimate squares, no doubt Sister Dorothy would join them with a whole heart. “She’ll be a tough nut,” said Pibble, unthinkingly. Brother Providence appeared not to notice this hint that the methods of the Community were no more than routine will-breaking, such as
knock the tip off the wedge. At each pause the skin of his forearm seemed to have swollen tauter with effort. So Braybrook had bought calm for St Estephe’s; but into that limpid interval had fallen a thunderbolt. The banker’s wife had bolted, taking the executive jet, the pilot and the boy. The pilot, in a dither of lust and fear, had forgotten to check the fuel and the plane had ditched in mid-Atlantic, gliding down to the refuge of a chance sail—a lone yachtsman, trying to prove something, but
damned primitive. A reel of cotton sold for a sovereign. Plenty of sovereigns, see, and damned little else. All their mammas had made ’em sew gold into the lining of their petticoats. Good thing for British virtue the guards never found out, hey? But a damned good notion—I’ve carried a bit of gold about ever since I could spare it.” He turned and spoke again to the Macdonalds. The slowness and meekness of his Gaelic, Pibble now saw, didn’t come from any respect for them but because he was not at
you want to you can tell me whether I’m right or wrong.” Sir Francis snorted beside him in the dark. “In about 1910,” said Pibble, “you were trying bigger and better vacuum chambers to continue your work on gas plasmas. My father did the glass-blowing. I imagine you’d already done all the work for which you got your Nobel Prize, but that was only a half-way house and you wanted to go on from there.” Sir Francis started to say something, then stopped. “My father was intensely devoted to you