Cruising with death

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If the Sultan invites you on board, you need to accept.
She is a luxurious ship sailing proudly between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. In her lounges, unscrupulous art traders have frantic conversations. In her storerooms, highly prized artwork awaits its destiny: a very private, not-so-legal auction on the ocean.
Let’s go behind the velvet curtain, to the personnel’s quarters, a world of equally sharp ambitions, raging dangers, and murder.
An idealistic musician and his beautiful partner collaborate to save art from money. But when they clash against the warped life of a pastry chef and the driven personality of the Cruise Director, these four people are thrown into a battle where the power of past and present feelings is only equaled by the force of the sea.
Cruising with Death is a vibrant vignette of the modern cruise as a symbol of globalization with its inevitable conflicts, surprising encounters and unexpected love.
Set yourselves towards new horizons. All aboard! Anchors aweigh!
Katy O’Connor was born in Africa. She grew up in France but has also lived in Spain and in the Middle East. Presently, she lives in California with her family. Her books express her interest for all kinds of journeys and the challenge of being “from everywhere and nowhere.”

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Publié par
Date de parution 01 avril 2012
Nombre de visites sur la page 12
EAN13 9782359622744
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,005 €. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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C*uising with Death
Katy O’Conno* legal depose*y mai 2012 ISBN : 978-2-35962-272-0
Collection Rouge ISSN : 2108-6273 ©Couve*tu*e de Hubely ©et de t*aduction intég*ale ou- Tous d*oits de *ep*oduction, d’adaptation  2011 pa*tielle, *ése*vés pou* tous pays. Éditions Ex Aequo 6 rue des SyDilles 88370 PlomDières les Dains http ://www.editions-exaequo.fr www.exaequoDlog.fr
Dans la même collection L’enfance des tueurs– François Braud – 2010 Dusang sur les docks– Bernard Coat L. — 2010 Crimes à temps perdu– Christine Antheaume — 2010 Résurrection– Cyrille Richard — 2010 Lemouroir aux alouettes– Virginie Lauby – 2011 Lejeudes assassins– David Max Benoliel – 2011 Laverticale du fou– Fabio M. Mitchelli — 2011 Lecarré des anges– Alexis Blas – 2011 Tueurs au sommet– Fabio M. Mitchelli — 2011 Lepire endroit du monde– Aymeric Laloux – 2011 Lethéorème de Roarchack– Johann Etienne – 2011 Enquête sur un crapaud de lune– Monique Debruxelles et Denis Soubieux 2011 Leroman noir d’Anaïs– Bernard Coat L. – 2011 Àlaverticale des enfers– Fabio M. Mitchelli – 2011 Crimeau long Cours– Katy O’Connor – 2011 Remous en eaux troubles–Muriel Mérat/Alain Dedieu—2011 Thérapie en sourdine– Jean-François Thiery — 2011 Lerituel des minotaures– Arnaud Papin – 2011 Psycho tueur au Père-Lachaize– Alain Audin- 2012 …etlalune saignait– Jean-Claude Grivel – 2012 Lasève du mal– Jean-Marc Dubois - 2012 L’affaire Cirrus– Jean-François Thiery – 2012 Bloodon the docks– Bernard Coat -tr Allison Linde – 2012
Postage stamps
February 12, 2003 Saint-Petersburg, Russia, latitude 59 ° 56' north, longitude 30 ° 18' east. 5 : 00 pm Elan’s heart was falling into pieces. Just like his mother’s heart before his father’s body stabbed to death, five years ago, when he was twelve years old. And just like the piece of bread which had thickened his soup this mo rning. His stomach had had nothing since and roared like a jack hammer; the keys hangi ng on his neck followed the rhythm of his long stride, clashing angrily on his wet chest; the whole thing sounded like a construction site and his eardrums were ready to gi ve up… He liked it when he could not hear anymore, when his sweat tears blinded him and the city vanished. The route was in his flesh. He would reach the following bridge. Here now ! He waved to tourists passing below by bo at as they encouraged him, hands raised. He ran again. To another bridge. This meant a lot to him. Or maybe not. Not quite. The one euro or one dollar bills people would leave him after the last bridge would be of some meaning as well... But only if thi s group here was in a good mood, rich enough, generous enough. If everybody had change. I f Elan was lucky today. The last bridge. People arriving below greeted him as a spor ts star. They had stopped watching the monuments that lined the Neva. Those old buildi ngs bored them. At this moment, they preferred the man. Elan was pleased. He sat on the wall, far enough away from the landing but not so far that he couldn’t be seen fro m the stairs that American and Western European visitors would soon climb. He stared ahead at the river sliding into the sea. One day, he would follow the Neva to the Baltic Sea, an d after, the ocean. Twenty-two euros and fifty dollars. Not bad. Now, h e could go to mass. Then, he would still have enough time to buy dinner. Somethi ng good, tonight, something imported. He would keep his share for his music classes and f or replacing his front tooth so he could smile openly to the people who gave him money and also to those who would hire him, someday, as a pianist. Whatever was left, he w ould give it to his mother. The building, of Soviet design, had an earthy pride , blackened, with a sickle and hammer on the façade as a huge old fashioned brooch . However, new tenants liked to show how trendy they were by owning expensive and p owerful dogs. One of these muscular hounds had off-loaded an impressive packag e in the entry; the stuff was smoldering pungently. Elan jumped over the turd; he climbed to the second floor and pushed the door on his left. It creaked vengefully. The Pastor raised his head and gave him a look of d eep compassion. The boy found a seat on a bench at the back of the room, his two hands on his thighs, nose on his knees, and in high spirit. He had rediscovered the religion of his ancestors until they became fed up with Russians, before they converted to Islam. His mother and his sisters could not even imagine that he was there, him, the Cherkess. If they knew, they would suffer (again !) but there was no chance that his f amily would find out. And if ever his secret escaped like a cockroach... it didn’t matter. Elan brought the meat to the table. A man was watching him. Elan knew it. As a runner, he learned to look straight ahead while grasping images of objects and people f rom the corner of his eye. The
foreigner attracted him too, like a magnet. He wore a blue grey suit. Steel hair, perfectly trimmed nails. His elegance was not dull. He bore t he confidence of someone in his late fifties who had managed to retain some benevolence on his face. Elan would have liked to be him; but not right now. The boy stood up and walked resolutely to the piano. The Pastor smiled at him and announced what he would pl ay while Nina and Varia took place to sing. Elan concentrated. After the bridges, it was his second performance. Everyone was talking at the same time, in excited a nd happy murmurs. Elan closed the piano. He hesitated between cutting through the crowd to rush to a supermarket or exchange some kind and encouraging words with fello w evangelists. Little Olga jumped to him and grabbed his leg. She raised her face ful l of freckles and moved her nose in a perfect imitation of her mother when she wanted to talk very seriously. “A foreign gentleman told me to give you that.” Elan looked at the card on which someone had scrawl ed : "You play very well the piano." A telephone number and the name of a five s tar hotel in the city were written above. This was not a business card. Only the name and address of the owner were printed : Christopher Donomarenko, 1202 San Pablo A venue, Palm Desert, California… USA… It sounded nice. The boy climbed down the stairs of sloughing cement . The hound’s fragrant package had dried. The door had remained open and i cy cold came in. Tomorrow, it would snow. No more boats, no more tourists—for a l ong winter. Palm Desert. Elan saw high branches. They followed a thin stream. Behind the stream, there were rocks, with yellow flowers in the middle. If they were not yellow, he would be disappointed. *** Ronda, Spain, latitude 36 ° 44' north, longitude 5 ° 10' west. 5 : 30 pm "ThePalacio de la Virgen Moramay generate eighty thousand euros per year alone with the rooms and the breakfast. So if you plan to open a first class restaurant... wow ! " The little lady with the grey suit and the gray hai r bun moved quickly from one room to another, so fast that her black Mary-Jane shoes seemed to raise her from the ground magically. They reflected like mirrors. "Even the s ole", thought Sauveur Selva while climbing painfully the tower’s narrow staircase beh ind the home’s owner. He threw a glance behind him to Suzette, his wife, who shook h er head in approval, then to his daughter, Joline. She kept her eyes on all the alab aster and the wood from the ceiling, her nose pulsing with excitation and her brain work ing fast, adding bright and colorful numbers. They arrived in a round room, blue like th e sea and shiny like dreams. Sauveur had to resist the urge to plunge into the silk matt ress lying on oriental rugs. He imagined himself rolling down with a girl… She would wear sk y blue Arabianbaboochs, she’d be as light as foam, as light as her laughter, she’d whis k him away on a magic carpet… And maybe perform some special spell on him… “I still sleep here sometimes”Doña Clara said. “That’s why I left the furnishings. At the same time it gives you an overview of what thePalaciois when properly really decorated.”
“It looks like you”, Suzette said. Sauveur did not pay attention to the words which we re mumbled after his wife’s simple statement. He approached the paneled window, pulled it open and looked down at Ronda. The small Andalusia city was waking up. Thesiesta time was over. Tourists and natives were mixing like coils. They were still eatingchurros con chocolateor had already moved on totapasbefore starting to choose a restaurant. Some would finish the night in the arms of their conquest of the day, or their lov ers’; the smartest would rest their head against the best friend they had already married or planned to end up with. Others, like Joline, would be alone. That was not exactly true. There was her dog Pralin (calledthe Devil); he was a Pomeranian, cute as a Duke of the same land until the latter lost the battle against a German Knight. The doggy received his nickname after he adopted the habit of lying on the feet of his mistress while sh e was asleep. Sauveur hoped that his daughter would meet the same emotional devotion on the part of a male of her own species because once thePalaciodeal closed, when the house— if we bought it—would bring money as opposed to just being cute, Joline w ould need to find a man—And make babies. A finger slightly scratched Sauveur’s back. He had forgotten this kind gesture… He turned. Joline vigorously threw her dimpled chin to wards the old bridge. The big arches, royal still, dived in the rocky womb of a ravine dried by time and life. “We shall find the path down to see that bridge fro m below,” Joline said firmly. Her black eyes were two bullets. They were saying to he r father : "I’ll buy it", requiring—more than they were asking—his support. Sauveur walked to the lady in grey who looked like a small mouse. His voice seemed to rise slowly from the bottom of a well. “Why are you selling your palace ? If I have unders tood correctly, it has been your companion, your child. Why not keep it a little lon ger ?” He threw a crafty look at the lady’s wrinkled hands , so proud of their diamond rings. They started shaking. The old woman lowered misty e yes on her hands that had always done what they wanted but not for long anymore. “You're right, she said, I am ready to die. My hous e will live. I spent thirty years to restore it. I uncovered its soul.” She looked intently at Joline as if her grey eyes h ad the power to designate that young woman as the new queen and she added, “I thin k you are able to bring thePalacio back to his former glory so I could go in peace.” It was the right moment for Suzette. She detached f rom her neck a red velvet ribbon with a gilded copper medal and handed the set to th e lady in gray. “Saint Rita”, she said, “You like it, so consider it a gift. The woman hesitated a moment and then pressed her d istorted fingers on the holy face. Earlier she had noticed the unusual jewel and asked Suzette about it. She closed her eyes for a long second. When she opened them, s he said : "I accept your price." Javier entered the restaurant close to the arenas w ith the resolution of a bull before the cape : strong and silly. He went right to the b ar. “Hasn’t Lupe finished yet ?” “She is working, leave her alone”, said Juan withou t raising his head. He served a tourist, then another and yet another. Javier glared at Lupe’s boss as if he was pushing a sword into his flesh, searching fo r his heart (or something similar to it). Since he didn’t find anything, he raised his glass as a threat and marched right to a table on the terrace. Across the dance floor, he saw his image in the wall mirror and smiled
widely : the pair of gold rings blazing at his lobe s was a gift from a wife and a husband who had each bought one. It has an amazing effect o n his amber skin beaten by his long black curls. He could seduce anyone and had need of no one. She ran to him. Her breasts were tight under her c otton blouse, whiter than the walls of thePalacio dela Virgen Mora(how was this possible ?). Her jeans were a little wide on her rather opulent rump. It was a legacy of the Ind ian, the Iberian and the Arab… and a fascinating object of mixed styles and cultures, ac cording to Javier. She got embroiled in her golden sandals (they were not made for walking, only to be admired), tripped, caught her flying mantilla just in time and managed to dro p on a metal chair still warm from the afternoon sun, facing Javier. According to her, the young Peruvian immigrant had failed her entrance again. She wasn’t in a relationship w ith this boy… not exactly. But a woman is a woman ! According to Javier, on the contrary, Guadalupe Lopez had been perfect. “My aunt has sold her palace”, he announced. DoñaClara ? ThePalacio?” “ThePalaciout for my aunt, it wasFor a lot less money than it’s worth, I think, b  ! priceless, so who cares, right ? Indeed, I feel bet ter without it. I could have set it on fire myself.” Guadalupe laughed softly, a piece of pink tongue be tween her teeth. “Didn’t you tell me you loved to live there when yo u were a little boy ?” “Climbing towers, running in empty rooms, seeking s ecret passages ! I could invent myself limitless adventures. It was more exciting t han theme park rides, not that we had them often in Ronda… What do you want to drink ?” “I’ll have what you are having, aManzana.” “Choose something yourself.” “I did. Today, I accompany you.” Javier shrugged and signaled the waiter. The man wa s busy selling as many orders o ftapasas he could to a group of tourists. able, the boys were in love withAround that t the sound of their voice and the girls with their o wn laughter, loud like buffaloes’ farts. “I just want you to show some personality”. “This is exactly what I'm doing”, Lupe countered. Javier nodded. His gaze was going from his companio n to a bird with an injured wing who was still trying to fly away from the side walk made of small and shiny tiles. “I have more good news”, he said while his eyes wer e on Lupe. “I have been promoted”. She smiled, mouth open. Every time she did that, sh e became an angel; like on the picture Javier used as a book-mark when he was a ch ild; whenDoñaClara still read him stories. Before she worried only about old stones a nd abandoned him, her godson, to nuns, neighbors, tourists. “After my vacation, I’ll be on the sea again. A big new boat : two thousand eight hundred passengers—as Cruise Director Assistant.” Lupe raised her glass. “Cheers !” she said as they both chugged their drin k at the same time. She swallowed the wrong way and began to laugh and cough. Tears flowed on her cheeks. She took a napkin and wiped them off, still giggling. “If you want, I will put in a word for you,” Javier said. “I have the ear of an executive of my company—and sometimes the whole body !” he ad ded with a wink. Lupe stopped laughing and crying. “Don’t tell me you did it again !” “What ? Having fun pleasuring others ? I believe I have never stopped.”
“They pay you !” “I get benefits.” “Cash.” “Not necessarily. A reward is always appreciated th ough. You're so naive, Lupe… My God ! You know what ? You remind me of my aunt, locked in a fairy tale at the time of the Caliphs—in a Palace in ruins.” Lupe had Vertigo. What did this post-Franco provinc ial bourgeois knew of her, Guadalupe, and all the battles she had fought ? Why she had left Lima. How she became third rank maid in Barcelona and waitress in Ronda. Her companion took her chin in his hand. He smiled to her, first with his light brown eyes where sometimes, an unexpected greenness was sparkling, like today. Then he smiled with his mouth and all his sparkling white teeth...whiter than before, Lupe thought, ask ing herself who they had put the bite on to pay the cosmetician dentist. She stood up. Javie r took her arm. “You didn’t answer me. Are you going to apply so I can recommend you or do you want to stay here ?” Lupe swallowed hard, repressing the revulsion that she suddenly felt at the smell of thecalamares ala romanathe table and at Javier’s : wood, metal and alc  on ohol. That was bad. She’d believed she had a friend in this co untry, in this city so proud of its history but that was only an old whore ready to sell herself to any ruffian. “Why do you want to help me ?” “I have no mother, no wife, no daughter; just an ol d aunt who speaks nothing but Moorish art. So what do you say ?” Lupe pulled her wrist of Javier’s grasp. “Why not ? I’d love to be offshore.” Javier picked up the bird, wound up his arm and thr ew the animal towards the old almond tree that had branches above the roof of the restaurant. The bird flapped his wings, almost exploded its head against the door’s iron hardware, and then rose to the top of the tree and higher. Javier thought that the re were those moments in life when you could even take the weak from the sidewalk and make them rise to the sky; if only we wanted it bad enough. A young tourist from the tabl e alongside smiled at him. One of her companions slipped his left hand under her blouse a nd stroked her breast. With the other hand, he seized a filet of anchovy by the tail and dropped it into his mouth, looking up. The girl smiled widely, gazing at Javier. He blew h er a kiss and walked out. “I’ll always like this town,” Javier thought while he was walking along the old arenas. Here, one was close to the bullfighting. One could understand something of the great sacrifice, witness the terrible and innocent bestia lity being overturned by clever fragility and artistry. Here, the natural fought against the know-how and lost. Even modern men loved it. The street was long and silent like a snake. Behind a wall covered with honeysuckle and wisteria, ThePalacio de laVirgen Moraits charms. Javier stopped at the concealed ornate wooden door with large squares of beaten cop per. He couldn't believe he was free never to come here again and yet that was precisely why he had come. He took a deep breath, absorbing the scent of the neighboring jasm ine (stronger than his cologne with a bouquet of tannin and resin). Behind these walls, h e had been a prince. As a lonely child, he had played all the characters in his court. Some times, when friends would come over, they’d challenge his distribution of the roles, so he preferred to play hide and seek instead. That way, he was sure to win without being too obvious.