Historical Fiction: Walking Away from Midnight – Sample Chapter 9

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Last Updated on August 27, 2023 by ADMIN-TOM

Walking Away from Midnight



It was a warm evening and Jessie had decided to leave her two sets of bedroom windows open, to facilitate a breeze into her bedroom. Otherwise, she knew, it would be hard to get to sleep with the room soon becoming claustrophobic. She was correct in her assumption, and it was a very warm night that night.

“How those priests slept in this heat and on wooden planks and straw is beyond me,” Jessie muttered as she turned over to get more comfortable. An hour later and she was still awake. It was one ‘o’clock in the morning and sleep had evaded her. She lay back and tried to count sheep. After a few minutes she realised she was actually counting taps. Not the sort of tap you find in a sink or bath, but a tapping noise. A noise, she soon realised, which was tapping out words. Being a child of an officer in the British Army, Jessie had learned morse code at an early age. What she was interpreting was a message to someone called Schultz about the death of Maxim and Uwe. The tapping stopped. Silence followed.

Jessie got up and put her robe on, quietly left her room and roamed the corridors trying to locate the position of the tapping. But she heard no more. She went back to her room, settled back into bed and waited for the dawn. She was already too hot and now too excited to sleep. She couldn’t wait to tell her father over breakfast.


“Tapping? You mean you heard someone using a radio telegraphy machine? Sending a message?”

Jessie dropped her toast on her plate in frustration. “Yes! Yes and yes! Why is it so hard for you to understand that?”

“Because it’s in my bloody house, my girl. I am not happy at having a German spy in my own home.”

“How do you know he’s German?”
“How do you know he isn’t she?”

“Good point,” Jessie said, picking up her toast and biting a piece off and chewing. “What do we do?”

“Don’t talk with your mouthful for a start, girl. Your mother gave you better manners than that.”

Jessie glared at her father.

“I mean your real mother, of course.”

Jessie smiled and popped the remaining toast in her mouth.

“We need to search the rooms,” Jessie said, inadvertently spitting out a piece of toast onto the breakfast table.

“You’re incorrigible, Jessie. And no, we don’t want to search the rooms. We need to trap this person, catch him or her in the act. So, we make up a story, make it known something is going to happen or someone important is going to visit us. Of course, the Ambassador is visiting our home. That will make them send a message and we will be quietly scouring the corridors, listening for the tapping.”

“Not that boring man, please. That means we have to organise a party for him. With just the two of us searching for the tapper?”

“No, we can use Armel as well. Maybe her daughter.”

“No, too much of a dunderhead. She’ll give the game away.”

“Well, perhaps I can rope Basil in from the embassy.”

“Just keep the wine cellar locked up.”


“Dad, that means we’ll all be searching for a spy who hasn’t got the time to tap because he or she are searching for themselves.”

“Good point.”

“Okay, just the three of us. I know I’m not the spy, I know my daughter isn’t and I know my wife isn’t. So, it has to be one of the staff.”

“Therein lies a problem, dad. Three of us to cover both the staff quarters at the rear and the closer family quarters as well as Inga in the middle.”

“Well it won’t be Nev,” Albert said.

“How do you know? He was up to something very odd the other day. Maybe he has gambling debts again.”

“How do you know about that? That was all kept very hush-hush.”

“Ever thought of taking up knitting, dad, instead of spying. You may be better suited.”

“Very funny. No, I cannot believe it could be my brother. So, family quarters won’t need surveillance. We can concentrate on Inga and the rest of the staff I think.”

Copyright © Tom Kane 2022


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Historical fiction

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A young Magda Asparov travels alone from her home in Ukraine to America, to marry Matthew Turner, an unscrupulous American businessman. It’s an arranged marriage and part of the dowry is land in America the Asparovs own. But this parcel of land holds a secret only Turner is aware of. It has a huge reservoir of oil beneath it.
Magda’s journey is cut-short when her ship, the Titanic, hits an iceberg & sinks.
Magda is rescued by another ship, captained by Richard Blackmore.

In the ship’s sickbay, it’s discovered the survivor has lost her memory. The crew of the rescue ship give the survivor a name, Maggie, to use until her memory returns. But as the ship sails to New York a new personality in Maggie takes hold, stifling Magda in the process.
On reaching New York, Maggie accepts Captain Blackmore’s offer of help and occupies Blackmore’s guest room in his apartment. But over time, the couple fall in love.

Meanwhile, Matthew Turner feels Magda is still alive and has unleashed his henchman, William Harker, a crook, con artist, money shark and murderer. Turner hates to feel his investment has slipped through his fingers and is keen to track Magda down and keep alive his hopes of cashing in on her oil field. Harker is told to find any trace of Magda among the survivors arriving in New York.

Harker discovers Magda is alive but is unaware of who she is. Harker makes his plans to snatch Magda away from Blackmore. Leaving Blackmore as collateral damage and his life in ruins.


“This one has it all – mystery, corruption, murder, kidnapping, love, revenge. Don’t plan to read it as a stand alone. You’ll definitely want the next books in the trilogy because the ending of book one is a cliff hanger. I couldn’t put this book down although I became so worried about the fate of Blackmore I had to regroup myself. Tom Kane did one helluva job writing this set.”

“This book has everything Romance, Murder, Mystery which automatically hooks you to the story.”

“Set against the backdrop of early 20th century America, an incredible story of love, loss, injustice, perseverance, mental illness & heartbreak.”

“A fictional romp through history, full of well-written twists & turns.
An arranged marriage, tragic love story & a bad guy you’ll love to hate.”

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Just click on the blue button.





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Tom Kane is an independent author, making a living from book sales. Please visit his Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/thetomkanecollection


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