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The Retirement Project (work in progress)

This is a spin off from my novel, ‘The Philosopher and the Assassin‘ which I have just completed.

I’m excited to report that a loose adaptation of the story for TV won the the Writing Climate Pitchfest, 2024. There are three series in production from last year’s competition, so fingers crossed! The TV series ‘The Assassin’ fuses legal/political thriller and family drama. It follows Robert Beech, Director of Public Prosecutions from his journey from pillar of the legal establishment to jail awaiting trial for murder. The story grapples with the most pressing question of our age – what do we do when our current systems are leading us to planetary destruction?

The novel version is more of a family drama/romance, and approaches the issues more from the perspective of Mary, Robert’s wife. See draft first chapter below:

Chapter 1 (early draft)

It’s difficult being married to a man who prides himself upon his integrity. At first, it was quite fun. Both of us got a kick out of me being the naughty one, but when Robert got more senior and took himself more seriously, it became a drag. Everyone assumed I was the kind of sober, upstanding wife as befits the Director of Public Prosecutions. I was, mostly. But because I have values, not because I’m ‘supposed’ to be good. I just want you to know I’m not some Lady Macbeth type, leading her man astray out of burning ambition. Having said that, leading a weak man astray is no challenge. Leading Robert astray? Well, that was fun.

So here we are in our respective prison cells. We agreed to write our versions of what happened while we await sentencing. We’ve been told it usually takes a while, and I can’t imagine this case will be quick. Not when Robert himself is advocating for the harshest possible sentence to make an example of us. When I look around the tiny cell, especially when I look upon the horrid toilet in the corner with no proper seat, I curse him. It’s been hard for Lauren and I to live with someone who could dob you in at any moment. Then again, it was his integrity that first attracted me, so I can’t complain.

You’ll meet him soon. Imagine Jean Luc Picard, Captain of the Starship Enterprise. Who knew that a bald short guy could be so sexy? Add a few inches, give him a mop of dark hair that gives him a boyish look which he absolutely hates (if I want to wind him up, I call him ‘pretty boy’). Give him a chiselled jaw and a big hook nose to relieve his face of bland handsomeness and you have my Robert. Nothing like Jean Luc Picard in appearance now I think of it, but he has that same air, that underneath that tightly controlled exterior are simmering passions. The moment I saw him, I suspected he’d be the kind of man who would make love with wild abandon. But it would never be scary because he has iron self-control. Not that I’m a fearful type, but let’s face it, unbridled passion in a man can go both ways.

Just remember that underneath that starchy exterior is the man I once persuaded to go skinny dipping. We got spotted while we were getting up to some funny business. He still goes on about how I swam away leaving him to face the music. But everyone knows you split up when you get caught.

That was the night Lauren was conceived.

You know, I can see quite far out the window. The prison is set on a hill, so there are great views. At sunset, the shadow of the bars falling across the floor is really quite beautiful. If things go badly for me, then perhaps I’ll take up sketching. After I’ve finished this, of course. I wonder what Robert will write? I see this as a blueprint for action, but he’ll see it as a cautionary tale. I expect he’ll write in the third person. I know him – he’ll like to retain an objective distance.

I, dear reader, will get down and dirty. Consider me the trailer. You will see sex, murder, betrayal, and the rest. Robert refuses to watch trailers. He doesn’t like to prejudice his judgement with someone else’s idea about what is important. You can tell he was Director of Public Prosecutions.

The inciting incident for me goes back decades, and we’ll get to that in due course, but Robert will probably start with the day that lovely old protestor got arrested.