Thursday, April 24, 2014

How the Wealthy Nobility Cover Up Scandals

I’ve written a number of novels including A Question of Proof or A Question of Proof (Kindle); Star Time: New Version & New Introduction or Star Time (Kindle); andDeeds or Deeds (Kindle); and Stalking the Sky or Stalking the Sky (Kindle). In my historical novel Birthright or Birthright (Kindle), I wanted to show how Rob Rowell, a wealthy earl, could cajole a nurse into covering up his part in the car-accident death of his illicit lover, the mother of my protagonist, Deborah Kronenegold.

Here’s an excerpt:

Rob Rowell did not see the curve in the road. Or, until it was too late, the large truck with the snowplow snout that suddenly loomed up in front of them.
He twisted the steering wheel and braked. The car careered to the right in a skidding spin. Madeleine’s door smashed against the side edge of the plow. The hardened steel cut through the Rolls like a knife and crushed Madeleine’s body.
The hospital was very near, but Rob, cradling her in a blanket in the truck cab, knew that it did not matter. Although attendants and nurses wheeled her quickly toward an operating room, and doctors alongside hurriedly covered her face with an oxygen mask, injected chemicals into her, inserted in her arms tubes connected to bottles of blood, pressed frantically on her dented-in chest—Rob knew he was watching a futile dumb show performed out of habit. She had left him already, amid the swirling whiteness.

His small suitcase beside him, Rob sat docilely on the bench in the emergency room, trying to come to grips with the finality of what had happened. The moments with her had always seemed luminous, because she was luminous—fresh and spontaneous and always so alive. He tried to summon up vivid recollections of her, so as to hold onto her and to delay his acceptance of the inalterability of her death, but all he could visualize was the angel-perfect profile resting against the black half-moon of steel that had sliced through the white Rolls.
Even in his distraught condition, he could not evade the knowledge that he had been the cause of her death, but he assured himself that no one could hold him responsible; with weather conditions so deplorable, it was true only in the technical sense that he had been at the wheel.

He sat up straight. At the wheel! If the police found out that he and Madeleine de Kronengold had been together in a car traveling back from her country house, the reporters would learn about their affair as well. Lurid stories would smear the two of them across every newspaper in England. There might even be speculation as to whether there had been some negligence involved in the accident. The publicity would be ghastly for him, for Maddy’s family, and especially for the Rowell bank, which was shaky right now as it was. And it would all be quite unnecessary. She was dead, and none of this would bring her back; if it could, he told himself, he would gladly endure it all.

At that moment a nurse approached him diffidently, carrying the forms that would have to be filled out. She appeared to be young and unsure of herself. He gave her a sad but engaging smile. Yes, he was sufficiently recovered to answer some questions for the hospital’s records. He took her hand so she could not write, gazed into her eyes, and began to relate a tragic story of love found and lost, a poignant affair between two members of the nobility, one a prominent banker, the other a married woman from a prominent banking family.

After a while he confided how much being able to tell her about his loss comforted him. And later he explained that it would be so much kinder to the dead woman’s family to leave his name out of the reports. He had been in the back seat asleep when it happened, he told her. He supposed the force of the skid had thrown her across the front seat, to the other side of the car, where the crash killed her. Under those circumstances it wasn’t absolutely necessary to write down that he was also in the car, was it? For the sake of the woman’s grieving husband and children, he would be eternally grateful to her if she spared them by leaving his name out of the reports. They’ve already suffered so much. He pointed to a newspaper front page announcing Samuel’s death. Someone had left it on a chair.

She withdrew her hand from his and fumbled in her pocket for a handkerchief. She nodded. She would do it.

The answering thankfulness on his face was authentic; if her report raised no questions, no one would look further into the matter. He took her phone number; he would like to be able to thank her properly some time very soon. Dabbing her eyes, she smiled and began to write her report.

Read more: Birthright or Birthright (Kindle).

No comments:

Post a Comment