The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (part sixteen)

Behold the penultimate chunk of my Mervyn Stone twitter novel, ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Nerd’.

About this time I threw out a challenge to guess the murderer, and mentioned the winner in the closing stages of the book.  Hence writer, actor and mystery fan John Dorney turning up to lend Mervyn a hammer.

Here he is again:

Quite a few people guessed it, and I wasn’t that surprised; nor did I mind particularly.  This was one of those mystery thrillers where the purpose wasn’t to wrong foot the audience; more to include the audience in the investigation so that they would be – pretty much – on the same page as Mervyn.

I would say the mystery as it stood (shamelessly borrowed and bastardised from an old Ellery Queen story) was a rather nice middle-brow murder, not leaving the reader gasping on the floor, but not insulting the reader with its simplicity.


It’s early in the morning, and I need a hammer.


Reception isn’t very helpful. They’re quite suspicious, to be honest.

One woman says dumbly that there is an iron in my room, and will that do?

I retort that if I needed a hammer as an alternative to an iron I should stop putting starch in my clothes.

She smiles a smile usually reserved for the clinically dead, and I know I’m going to get nowhere here.

Fancy that! I’m in luck, for once.

This time I’m in the right place at the right time.

Albeit in a hotel getting stalked by a homicidal lunatic…

A man is passing. He says he has a hammer in his car.

I’m trotting out behind him into the car park.

It’s a good hammer. Nice and hefty. It’ll do the job just fine.

I thank the man – name of John Dorney – and promise I’ll let him have it back when I’ve finished with it.

Which should be about half past ten, if I’m any judge.

So where is the murderer now? Are you still here? Are you reading my tweets?

Surely you can’t think you can stop me now.


I am waiting 4 u 2 try


U do this and u die mervyn


U r on yr own now


There is no one here 2 stop me getting u


C u at ten 4 yr panel! By by




I’m getting ready to get up on stage.

It’s the first panel of the day, so as we’re all here, we’re starting early.

The timing has thrown me; this could be bad.

Jennifer McLaird is there sitting there with her knitting on her lap. So is Charlie Ross, the interviewer. It’s a bit of a tartan-fest.


Jennifer has plenty to say, and the fans want to listen. I’m politely ignored for now.

No one seems to mind me tapping on my phone.

The hall is packed. Everyone seems to be here.

It’s a convention of course, so ‘Buy the Gods’ has set up its stall in the dealers’ room.

I wonder who’s minding the stall, because I can see Mary and Stacey glowering at me from the back of the hall.

As Jennifer is here, so her nephew and manager is here too. Gus is sitting at the front, ramrod straight staring at me, then at Jennifer.

Like he’s watching a tennis match in slow motion.

Was it my imagination, or was that Gary lurking outside the doorway?

Surely not.

I’m trying to look nonchalant, but my heart is thudding so hard I’m sure it’s making the water in my glass shake.

I can see a Cyberman standing at the back, waiting.


Charlie’s chucklethon with Jennifer is coming to an end.

Any moment now he’s going to turn to me with the grim question. ‘So Mervyn, what are you up to now?’

And I’m going to say: ‘You mean writing? Absolutely nothing at the mo.’

‘But I HAVE been solving a murder.’


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