Consuelo Roland is the bestselling author of The Good Cemetery Guide and The Limbo Trilogy, a mystery-suspense series set in Camps Bay.
Roland’s latest novel, Wolf Trap, follows Lady Limbo, the first volume in the trilogy, published to critical acclaim in 2012.
Read an excerpt:
The Girl in the Chauffeured Car
The girl in the back seat stared out of the car window. Fields of wide-open sunflowers flashed by. In the background a grain silo built in stone rose against the cloudless blue sky. Occasionally through the trees – she thought they might be elms or poplars, but she couldn’t be sure – she caught a glimpse of a long flat ribbon of green that hardly stirred in the midday sun; somehow she thought the sluggish waterway would be teeming with strangely foreign insect life. Perhaps they had dragonflies in France. She’d tried to open the window to hear the outside world, and when it remained firmly shut she’d banged on the glass screen that separated her from the uniformed man in the driver’s seat. The chauffeur hadn’t even turned his head at the banging.
How had she got into this car? The last thing she remembered was waking up in a dingy hotel room in Paris.
She yelled at the driver that she was thirsty and banged again. Once she’d caught him looking at her in the rear-view mirror and she’d stuck her tongue out at him. So childish. All she’d succeeded in doing was almost breaking her hand. She’d tried to jump out at a set of traffic lights but the door hadn’t budged and her legs had felt too heavy to move. She refused to let him see her cry. She tried humming the only French song she knew, Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques, Dormez-vous? … but that reminded her of her friends and their antics in the classroom and it made her feel worse, so she closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep.
In the front, the chauffeur checked the car clock. She’d be easier to handle once the drugs took effect. How very pale her lashes were. She reminded him of a white rabbit he’d caught in a snare when he was a boy. In a panic, its pink eyes terrified, the rabbit had wrenched itself out of the wire noose and tried to hop away, blood streaming from where its severed foot had once been. It was rare, such unflawed fur, such perfect purity of colour. The young female rabbit must have escaped from the breeding cages. The blackened carcass that came out of the fire had had so little meat on it that he’d gone out to check the snares again but there was nothing else.
He watched as the pretty little girl on the back seat sank into oblivion, wondering not for the first time what happened to the ones that didn’t settle down. His hand slammed against the steering wheel. It wasn’t his business to ask such a question. He was here to deliver the goods, and get paid, that was it.
Anything else was looking for trouble.