My reluctant amateur detective, Andorra Pett, has a new adventure.

Andorra Pett will return soon, in Andorra Pett and the Luna Mining Conspiracy.

It’s been a year since Andorra Pett takes a Break was published and people have been asking me if there are any more adventures for what has become my best-selling character.

The good news is that the story mentioned above is nearing completion.

This time, the action takes place on the Moon. At least I’m not running out of new locations for Andorra to have adventures in or reasons for her being there in the first place.

As for crimes, there will always be enough human nature to ensure she has something to investigate, it’s even better when she can latch onto a crime that nobody else realises is a crime. Like in this one.

She’s on the Moon with her buddy, Cy, who has been feeling left out, after two adventures that he took no part in. To make up for it, a road trip, with plenty of booze and laughter was planned. The trouble is, nothing is ever that simple in Andorra’s universe. Andorra discovers a plot that could alter the whole balance of power in the Solar System. As usual, it’s so improbable that nobody will believe her, so she has to get some proof herself. That’s where the fun starts.

If someone had told me, when I first wrote the short story, Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, that five years later, I’d be writing her fifth full-length adventure, I’d have laughed.

In writing this part, I’ve had an idea for a sixth story too, which will be music to the ears of her fans. I have seen a bit of the action in that one (it’s set on Mars), but for now, you’ll have to content yourselves with the knowledge that Andorra Pett will be back after this story for at least one more adventure.

Not only that, as I said in a previous post, her great-granddaughter is waiting in the wings, ready to have a life of her own.

I have no idea of what the cover looks like yet, but I can let you have a sneak preview of Chapter One.

Chapter 1

I can’t honestly say I love the moon. As far as I could see, the only good thing about being on it is that you weigh a lot less than you do anywhere else in the solar system. And that’s important. Of course, so does everyone else but it would still be nice to see a smaller number on the scales. And take a picture, without the background.

I had never visited. No that’s not true; Cy and I spent two days there, on the way from Earth to what we now have to call Oscar station. I don’t remember much about it, I was too raw over what had happened in my life to take much notice. I do recall that it was a tiny settlement, partly under a big dome and partly in a cave, a bit like on Mars. There was a mine as well, on another part of the planet but no farm to grow crops or produce breathable air.

In short, there was little in the way of atmosphere. Not that I wanted to party, I was still getting over the shock of finding Trevor with Maisie, and my decision to leave London. It didn’t really register as more than a blip, part of a dark time in my life.

Now, I was going back, for a proper visit, with Cy. I had promised him a road trip and this was it. Cy had been less than enthusiastic at the start. And that was putting it mildly.

“The Moon.” Cy was indignant, “the bloody Moon. I wait ages, for the road trip that you promised me and you want to go to the Moon?”

We were sitting on the observation platform on Charlie station, drinking coffee and watching the worlds go by. Earth was large to our left, the Moon, brightly lit, to our right. People walked past us, ignoring the sight through the huge windows, just as they ignored the field full of cows on the other side of the walkway. Not long ago, this had been one of the wonders of the universe, what had happened to make it so boring?

“It’s perfect Cy, nobody knows us, it’s quiet.”

“Too right it’s quiet,” he was going quite red around the gills in his childish show of indignation. “And do you know why? it’s boring. Like being here. Nothing ever happens, there’s nothing to do, unless you count going to look through a window at a flag and a few bits of twisted wreckage. I thought we’d be going to Earth. I wanted to see the tribute café, I was getting all excited. I wondered if they had a Cy lookalike?”

I tried again, “but Cy, that’s the whole point. I want to go somewhere quiet, I’ve had adventures and I want a bit of peace, to chill with my friend. I don’t want to see Clive again; or be reminded by a procession of younger, skinner versions of me just how old I look. And I can save you the bother, they haven’t. I just want to sit around, drink cheap wine and swap stories. You’re not suggesting that we go and find a crime to solve, are you?”

“Well,” he mumbled, at least he had calmed down a little, “I’m jealous of what you’ve been doing, you got up to all that stuff on Earth, then on the Solar Breeze. It feels like you don’t need me anymore. We used to make a good team.” He paused, “and whatever you think, you look OK to me.”

That wasn’t the case at all. Cy was my best friend. I valued his opinion and we had shared some adventures. Sure, since I had met Derek, we had drifted apart, what did he expect? We were only ever mates, nothing more. Anyhow, he had Greg, I could say that he kept us apart, but I didn’t. Even so, I didn’t like to see him upset. 

“And you feel let out,” I said, putting my arm around his shoulder. “I’m sorry Cy. I’m sure we can find something to do in Selenville that doesn’t involve me, or even us, risking our necks.”

He ignored that, his eyes narrowed, “I’ve just realised, you want to go to the moon cos you’ll weigh less.”

Did he really think I was that vain? “I hadn’t considered it, but it’s as good reason as any,” I said.

“Either that or you want me to rescue you, one last time?” he added.

“You wanted this trip, Cy. I hope you’re not going to bitch about it all week.”

“Find us something interesting to do and I’ll keep quiet.”

When it was time to go, we had headed down to the shuttle bay for the trip down to Selenville. The shuttle was empty, just us and a single stewardess. She gave us drinks and a snack, all the time avoiding eye contact. Was this a bad time to be going to the Moon? I didn’t know, Derek hadn’t mentioned anything about the place when I had suggested it.

“That’ll be nice for you,” he said distractedly, “OLC has nothing to do with the Moon, there’re no farms there, the mining company is independent, They’re called Luna Mining or some other play on words.”

That had reassured me, if Derek thought it was safe, then it was. But now, seeing the sour face of the stewardess, I was less sure that Derek had his finger on the pulse.

“Excuse me,” I said as she walked past, “is there something going on Moonside that we don’t know about?”

She stopped. “If you’re going down there, and you,” she pointed at me, “are OLC, then I would have thought you know all about it. Good luck, just don’t expect to be popular.” With a glare, she walked away.

I looked at Cy, he was shaking his head. “What have you done this time?” he asked.

I shrugged, “no idea, Derek never said, there was nothing mentioned when I booked the tickets.”

“Well, perhaps we should keep a low profile, not mention that you’re OLC and that Derek is upper management. At least I’m nothing to do with them, I just run a café.”

“Rented from OLC, on an OLC owned platform,” I reminded him.

His face fell. “Oh, yeah, definitely low profile then, Andi.”

If everything goes to plan, the novel should be out at the end of 2022.

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