Leathan Wilkey has been hired to babysit Clementina, a seventeen-year-old whose rich daddy is going through a messy divorce and is over-compensating.
Leathan soon tires of her spending habits, her selfie obsession, and her social media preoccupation as his ward drags him from shop to boutique to jeweler, approaching each with the self-possession that comes from a lifetime of getting her own way and never once having to worry about money.
But when Clementina snaps her fingers and her boyfriend doesn’t come running, something is up. He doesn’t appear because he’s been murdered.
When Leathan investigates, he finds that the boyfriend has no background and met Clementina through a connection made by daddy’s business partner.
Daddy’s business partner who has been slowly and progressively putting daddy in a vice, grabbing more of the business, and who is now menacing Clementina directly to manipulate daddy.
Clementina was clearly offended.
Offended by my apparently uncouth utterance. Offended that I was not paying due reverence. Offended that I was thinking money, when I should be appreciating the art. Offended in the way that only a seventeen-year-old can be offended.
She was able simultaneously to be both a child and a world-weary adult. Neither of whom was accepting of my situation; both of whom were deeply saddened by my obvious circumstances.
She was saddened that I could live in a world like this.
Some people are saddened about famine in Africa. Some are saddened about wars or religious fundamentalists imposing their unyielding doctrines on populations, killing and mutilating children and innocent adults. Clementina was saddened and offended—on my behalf—that the world of jewelry and the exquisite pleasure of fine gems set in delicate pieces of lovingly shaped precious metal had been withheld from me.
She knew—as only one who had been indoctrinated into the secret society knew—that if I had been exposed to the world of bijouterie, then I would appreciate the treat that was waiting for me.
What she didn’t know was that I hated being patronized by seventeen-year-olds. Even if their father was paying me. Not that her father and I had actually done anything as tedious as agreeing a fee.
Or talking. Even on the phone.
Simon Cann is the author of the Boniface, Montbretia Armstrong, and Leathan Wilkey series of books.
In addition to his fiction, Simon has written a range of music-related and business-related books, and has also worked as a ghostwriter.
Before turning full-time to writing, Simon spent nearly two decades as a management consultant, where his clients included aeronautical, pharmaceutical, defense, financial services, chemical, entertainment, and broadcasting companies.
He lives in London.
What is the sweetest thing someone has done for you?
That would be telling.
How would you spend ten thousand bucks?
On wine, women, and song. The rest I’d just fritter away…
Yeah, I know that someone else said it first.
Where do you get your best ideas?
I get ideas all the time. The key is not to be judgmental—instead I try to capture all ideas and only later will I throw away the bad ones.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
The need to earn money.
What does your main character do that makes him/her special?
Seriously. Leathan Wilkey is an ordinary guy—because of his history and the people he upset, he lives an unusual life.
The reason he survives in these tough circumstances is that he’s smart, resourceful, and has a network of people around him that he can trust. And for those he doesn’t trust, he is cautious in his dealings.