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Malcolm Hamer

Death Trap

Headline 1993
Jacket design David Juniper

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Malcolm Hamer

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The cat got languidly to his feet from the drive in which he'd been bathing in the early evening sun. He padded through two bars of the wrought-iron gate and came to be stroked. Just the muscle movements of the words 'Hello, cat' set my bruised face protesting. The pain couldn't spoil, though, this moment of peace on my walk down a quiet tree-lined Surrey lane. Moments of peace had been rare in recent months. The cat belonged to a house built in stockbroker Tudor style. The owner had probably turned me down for a job in the past few weeks; there were not many City firms which hadn't done that. Up to now my life had been pretty comfortable; too comfortable by half, according to some of my friends and family. Then all the slings and arrows had arrived in one unexpected salvo. I had lost both my jobs, all my slender reserves of capital and most of my confidence. Much of my time had been spent as a salesman for a firm of stockbrokers, a small company which had retained its independence, and still relied on the business provided by a caucus of wealthy private- clients. The chairman of Norton Buccleuth, Andrew Buccleuth, described me as a specialist in the leisure market and this allowed him to give me a long rein. I needed that because I was also a caddie on the professional golf circuit.

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