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LoaMR: Ch. I: Unforgotten Murder 1 (Reworked)

by MailicedeNamedy


In the small community of Sehlingen was a villa.

To the utter amazement of all those visitors who had strayed there, this villa was the eyesore of the farming village. The mighty building had been abandoned for many years and was decaying in the shadow of the market square. Like a compost heap, the building was rotting inside and out and was shunned by all its inhabitants.

It had stood empty for over fifty years. The people of Sehlingen did not talk about it, it was like a thorn stuck in their village. It could not be removed. It was like a deadly disease or a leper, it was shunned and ignored. But it was part of the village and therefore part of the community. The grounds of the mansion were closed off, letting nature do its work there in silence.

Over the course of time, the hedges around it had developed into an untamed monster. Ivy grew over partly withered leaves, spiders and insects inhabited the many brittle holes in the low entrance wall. The wall crumbled everywhere, the left statue of the column was missing from the entrance gate, while the right one lay broken on the ground. A thick branch of the oak tree that stood next to the entrance had smashed a granite swan into its component parts. The storm that was responsible had scattered the tiles of the roof in the front garden.

Anyone standing in front of the entrance and inspecting the mansion could not help but notice that the windows were almost broken everywhere. Shards lay inside and outside. The entrance door was smashed, torn curtains blowing in the wind and the draught turned them into ghosts. Squeaking doors and creaking wooden boards foreshadowed disaster for whoever heard them in the night.

The splendour that this property once enjoyed when it was built within two years was long forgotten. The eleven or twelve rooms were dirty, the damp upholstery and furniture were mouldy, the interior furnishings lay scattered from the entrance to the attic. The filthy, rape-yellow exterior was already blended into a cinnamon-coloured, disgusting tone.

Today, the mansion is no longer entered by anyone. Fearing to be cursed or even killed by a supernatural power, the old people used it to scare the children.

The storm could not have done it all on its own. The people of Sehlingen are guilty of one thing. They were not responsible for building it, but they were responsible for its decay and wanton destruction.

After all these years of decay, only recently did a young man named Léonard appeared who intended to call the villa his own.

***

Léonard slowly got closer to his goal.

He had been working towards this for a long time. As part of the renovation to put everything in order, he managed to reap the fruits of his labour, at least on this day. The last cobwebs were removed as he stowed a sack of yellowed leaves, punctured blankets, and broken roof tiles in a corner. The broom, all grey and damp from the leaking roof had served its purpose and was to be disposed of as well. He knelt for a while beside the old, reddish-brown cherry wood cupboard. He read the partly torn and mouldy notice that someone had stuck on the still intact door. Apart from the numerous dead spiders, it was the only interesting thing in the attic.

It didn't really look any cleaner. But at least it now looked as if someone lived here. Léonard inspected the holes in the ceiling and felt the support wood. He had no desire to have the roof repaired and considered not abandoning the attic altogether.

His tidying up had no particular reason. Maybe he just wanted to take his mind off things a bit. In any case, his arrival in the village was not the best. Everyone immediately looked at him when he drove his car into the front garden of the mansion and suffered a flat tyre.

He had only been there for a day, but the people of Sehlingen already knew that Léonard was a young man looking for a quick buck. They immediately avoided him, not without letting him in on it by standing in front of the property and letting their curiosity play with them. Who would want to enter this disgraceful place?

The rain had eased in the morning. The sun cleared the clouds and the temperature rose.

Léonard strolled downstairs after closing the chamber door. The past that lurked within these walls was still alive. Arriving in the foyer, he was startled at the sight of the rubble and the missing furniture. He thought he was seeing boyish pranks when he visited the rest of the rooms, but after a while he gradually realised that all the residents had taken part in destroying the mansion internally. The façade smelled of charred paper, romantic landscape paintings became cruel acts of war and the destroyed cupboards and tables were victims of an insatiable beast. The buffet lacked plates and cutlery, the divan in the reception room lacked loins.

It gave him an ounce of motivation after the inspection. He had started with the attic, as there was the least to do there.

He just didn't expect to have to clean up so much. Léonard knew about the resentment of the locals and the resentment towards the mansion. He couldn't resist going to the market that morning to buy some fruits. By then he had already noticed the washerwomen on the wall, staring at him suspiciously. Some gossiped in a loud tone that he could overhear.

Léonard liked this attention and couldn't help smiling as he lit a cigarette and wished the group of gossips a good day.

***

The village pub was always well filled. The cheerful music of the accordion, the shouting of card players and the clinking of glass amidst the ceiling fogged with cigarette smoke was the everyday situation in this dimly lit room.

When Léonard entered the pub that evening, it was silent for a brief moment. Motionless, the musician stared at him while one of the card players tried to make one of his cards disappear under the table. Léonard grinned and greeted every single table he passed before coming to the counters. At first he stared at the painting of a hunter hanging behind the liquors before whistling confidently to call the host to him.

The music of the accordion began anew as the innkeeper glared at Léonard, talking to a man who, with his bowler hat and suit, didn't really fit into this pub.

Léonard whistled a second time when the man in the bowler hat came up to him and introduced himself as Mayor Krautmann. The young man was surprised but very pleased that no one less than the head of the village came to him.

"I suppose you don't take orders."

With a wave of his hand, he called the innkeeper over.

"Two wheat," the mayor demanded in his gruff voice.

"And a match." Léonard grinned and tried to hand the innkeeper a cigarette, which he refused to accept.

"Come with me," the mayor ordered when they had their glasses and a pack of matches.

Léonard followed him into a gloomy corner opposite the card players. For a moment, Léonard remained silent. He watched the scene while the mayor looked at him, hoping he would say a word.

"You moved into the villa," he said after the silent seconds.

Léonard raised his glass and wanted to toast. Krautmann didn't seem to want to understand his humour.

"Exactly."

Krautmann squeezed his eyes tightly shut and eyed Léonard's clothes while he lit a cigarette. He finished it with relish before continuing. The mayor had not yet taken a sip of his beer but was waiting to hear more than this word in reply.

"It's my villa. I inherited it."

Léonard clearly recognised how the mayor shuddered at these words and the bowler hat almost fell off his head. The moustache vibrated even seconds after Léonard's revelation. Krautmann tried to grab his glass, succeeding only after several attempts.

"I don't suppose you know what this mark of shame is all about," he tried to explain calmly. "If you have indeed inherited this monstrosity, it means you are related to this de Waarfay guy."

Léonard nodded.

"It's nice to know he's still remembered. That de Waarfay guy was my grandfather," Léonard smiled, "That's why I love these small villages. Everyone knows everyone."

With a mock manner, he tossed a cigarette to the mayor. He took it and put it in his pocket with his tissue.

"I don't suppose you know that your grandfather is wanted."

"He's dead," returned Léonard curtly, "Shall I give you the address of the cemetery?"

Krautmann slammed his fist on the table. Before he could shout anything, Léonard continued.

"Now that this matter has been cleared up, why don't I ask about the people responsible for putting the villa in this mess?"

Léonard blew smoke in the mayor's face. Krautmann turned all red. Even his moustache and bowler hat seemed to turn red. For a moment he stood in front of the table, about to throw his beer glass at Léonard when cheering rang out from the table of card players. The cheater seemed to have won and shouted into the room that he was paying for all the drinks. Léonard kept his eyes on the mayor and counted to ten with him in his mind to get down a bit.

With a fake smile, he tried to turn the situation in his favour.

"When you leave the village, I am willing to speak to the priest to have your sins forgiven."

Léonard laughed out loud.

"Doesn't he already have enough to do with the sinners in this village?" he asked, coughing. "I just want to play a little detective and do some investigating of my own."

He stood beside the mayor and tossed him some coins.

"I thank you for the invitation. Help yourself to some liquor before you go to sleep. And don't worry, I won't accuse anyone of emptying the safe in my library."

Léonard strolled through the pub and went to the card players, where he introduced himself with an elegant bow and placed the cheater´s card on the table.

"You seem to have lost something earlier."

Léonard laughed and made his way out of the pub before he could witness the coming minutes.

"Have a good evening, gentlemen," he said with a wave.

To the next part: Chapter I.2.


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Mon Mar 07, 2022 1:45 pm
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Phillauthet wrote a review...



Hi Mailice!
I'm reviewing after 5 months, so forgive me if my skills are rusty.

To start off,
I have to say, I like your style of writing. It gives a classic, nostalgic feel.
I liked the way you started, and your description of the villa. Your adjectives and imagery are great :D
The somewhat mysterious but characteristic intro of Leonard in this part is really good. I like this character already!


I didn't find any 'bad parts' in this work, just a couple of pet peeves :D

I get that it's part of your style, but I feel that some of your sentences are too long. Maybe you could split them?

"Krautmann squeezed his eyes tightly shut and eyed Léonard's clothes while he lit a cigarette." (Sorry I'm on a phone and too lazy to do the fancy coding)
In this line, maybe you could say that he opened his eyes, then eyed Léonard's clothes. Maybe it's just me, but it feels weird when you say that he shut his eyes and eyed the clothes.


Overall, this was a great start to the story! Can't wait to read the rest of it!!

Keep Writing!




MailicedeNamedy says...


Thank you very much for your review! :D



Phillauthet says...


No problem! :D



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Wed Jan 05, 2022 1:23 am
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Carlito wrote a review...



Hey Mailice!! I don't know yet if I'll do a review of every section, we'll see as I go :) But I thought I'd give some thoughts as I read and then I'll still send you an edit letter at the end!

I thought this was an effective opening! I really liked that we opened with establishing this house and the way you did it made it feel like the house was a character in and of itself which is really cool. It's a slow opening, but it doesn't feel slow because you've done such a good job of creating a mood.

I'm intrigued by Leonard so far. I like his cool confidence of being in this house and not caring what people in the town think. I feel like he's not sharing everything that he knows, which is good because we shouldn't know his secrets in the first chapter. I'm definitely intrigued to keep reading!

A few nitpicky notes:
1. In the first scene, sometimes the house is called a villa and sometimes it's called a mansion. I'd pick one and stick with it.

2. Also in the first scene, "The filthy, rape-yellow exterior" is there another descriptor you can use? I've never heard of "rape-yellow" and I find it off-putting.

3. In the last scene, sometimes it's hard to tell who is talking (when it's Leonard and the mayor). It's tricky because they're both guys so you can't always do "he", but I think more dialogue tags would be good.

4. When Leonard enters the pub that evening, you could add a line or two about why he's going to the pub or if this is a common occurrence for him. Is this a nightly ritual or is there a particular reason he's going tonight? Little details like that will add to his characterization.

Overall, strong opening!! More soon :)




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Tue Dec 07, 2021 6:42 pm
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MailicedeNamedy says...



Hi @InuYosha,

The story is a bit longer, so I thought the chapters would be a nice touch. xD But I can see it now because chapter 16 is the longest with 38.000 words. It´s actually the fusion of 18 tinier chapters...

I worked there for six years, one to two months at a time during summer. Mostly lighter work in production like on the assembly line or later in the chemistry lab. It was a lot of fun and at the end of the month I was much richer and I still stank of rubber for three weeks... But it was a great way to earn money as a student because of the different shifts. (I loved the night shifts!)

L sounds good. :D Yeah, I think the card trick is the only honest thing he does for a long time. :D

Mailice




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Mon Dec 06, 2021 9:18 pm
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InuYosha says...



Heyo. I'm writing this now as a reply, but if it ends up not working, I will copy-paste it and put it as a literary comment :P

(my guess is that I will have to copy paste it)

The chapters are so long because they are not actually chapters. :D Actually they are "parts". Like here for example, this chapter 1 is actually 10 chapters that I summarised like this. But I didn't want to find 130+ chapter names or end with chapter 130. But these chapters here all have something in common; they are mostly set in one place.


Ah . . . I see. Calling them chapters was very . . . misleading in a sense. I was thinking "woah . . . those chapters pretty much half the length of my novel o-o"

It´s British English. But strangely enough, every year since I was eighteen I've worked in the summer holidays at the Goodyear tyre factory, where it also says "tire" everywhere because yeah, an American company. But in French, "tire" means "pull". xD I see these mistakes always, because of Grammarly. There isn´t an option to change between AE and BE. :( Or I´m just stupid.


That's pretty cool abt the tires! What do you do at the tire/tyre factory?

Also, you're definitely not stupid! >:I


I don´t mind, but maybe Léonard does. :D


Maybe I could call him 'L' :0

I don´t know if I would call Léonard cool, but I like the description. But I think that Dwayne is way more honest than Léonard.


Well the card trick thing was pretty cool to me . . . maybe I have bad taste . . .

-crabe yosh










@MailicedeNamedy yep it didn't work, so here I am




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Mon Dec 06, 2021 7:00 pm
MailicedeNamedy says...



Hi @InuYosha,


Replying problems bring unexpected solutions, so here I am. :D

First of all, thank you for your review! :D Now to some points here.

[by the way, i was wondering why you decided to make these chapters so long . . . wouldn't it make more sense to call them sections or parts or something like that?? because wow that is immense if you put it together!]


The chapters are so long because they are not actually chapters. :D Actually they are "parts". Like here for example, this chapter 1 is actually 10 chapters that I summarised like this. But I didn't want to find 130+ chapter names or end with chapter 130. But these chapters here all have something in common; they are mostly set in one place.

First, the starting line is not that bad, but It might be too simple, if you get what I mean?

I get totally what you mean. And seeing it now shows me, that this is a bit simple. :D

I'm not sure if this is a typo or just a difference between European and American style English, but isn't 'tyre' supposed to be 'tire'?

It´s British English. But strangely enough, every year since I was eighteen I've worked in the summer holidays at the Goodyear tyre factory, where it also says "tire" everywhere because yeah, an American company. But in French, "tire" means "pull". xD I see these mistakes always, because of Grammarly. There isn´t an option to change between AE and BE. :( Or I´m just stupid.

Also, I like how Leonard (I hope you'll be fine with me leaving off the accent because I hate having to switch to the international keyboard)

I don´t mind, but maybe Léonard does. :D

By the way, forget what I said about Dwayne. I don't think Dwayne would ever be that cool-- that card trick thing was hilarious.

I don´t know if I would call Léonard cool, but I like the description. But I think that Dwayne is way more honest than Léonard.

Also, this chapter has seven reviews already, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to review it, but I will anyways.

When you see that there are already so many reviews, you don't always have to review them. :D Then maybe one comment is enough.

Thanks again for the review! :D

Mailice




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Sun Dec 05, 2021 10:35 pm
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InuYosha wrote a review...



Heyo Mailice

yoshicarb here for an review

[by the way, i was wondering why you decided to make these chapters so long . . . wouldn't it make more sense to call them sections or parts or something like that?? because wow that is immense if you put it together!]

Also, this chapter has seven reviews already, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to review it, but I will anyways.

In the small community of Sehlingen was a villa.

To the utter amazement of all those visitors who had strayed there, this villa was the eyesore of the farming village. The mighty building had been abandoned for many years and was decaying in the shadow of the market square. Like a compost heap, the building was rotting inside and out and was shunned by all its inhabitants.


Great start! I'm not sure if I reviewed this before . . . I think I reviewed the old one, so this will be a new experience for me!

First, the starting line is not that bad, but It might be too simple, if you get what I mean? I am totally in favor of simple intros, but I just feel like there's something strange about saying something as straightforward as 'there was a villa'. Also, you mention that the villa is an eyesore, which makes sense . . . since it's so destroyed, but why exactly are the visitors in utter amazement? I would think that the visitors would probably also see it as an eyesore as well, considering its terrible lack of home improvement.

Over the course of time, the hedges around it had developed into an untamed monster.


Lol . . . i really like that description. Who knew hedges could become so nasty!

Fearing to be cursed or even killed by a supernatural power, the old people used it to scare the children.


Maybe say elders or seniors instead of 'old people'? I feel like saying 'old people' is a bit unnatural

Also, gosh your elaboration on the villa is amazing! I can totally see this haunted-hause style mansion with broken windows, faded colors, MONSTROUS HEDGES, etc. It's honestly really refreshing to see such detailed descriptions.

Everyone immediately looked at him when he drove his car into the front garden of the mansion and suffered a flat tyre.


I'm not sure if this is a typo or just a difference between European and American style English, but isn't 'tyre' supposed to be 'tire'?

Also, I like how Leonard (I hope you'll be fine with me leaving off the accent because I hate having to switch to the international keyboard) is kind of absently cleaning the mansion. The way you described the mansion, it seemed like it was completely beyond repair, destroyed and rotted from inside out, and the fact that Leonard is just offhandedly tidying it up is kind of funny.

The rain had eased in the morning. The sun cleared the clouds and the temperature rose.


I was about to say that you should change 'temperature rose' to 'got hotter', but then I realized what you did with the clouds + temperature rose thing, so don't mind me I'm just reading too fast >.<

Léonard liked this attention and couldn't help smiling as he lit a cigarette and wished the group of gossips a good day.


I gotta say . . . I'm digging that attitude. He sounds so carefree, like strolling through life as if it's an amusement park. It honestly kind of reminds me of Dwayne from KotC :P I believe there was a time when Dwayne got overexcited when there was a cheering crowd.

Anyways, I'm getting off track.

The conversation with Krauttman (I think I'm spelling his name right) was interesting. (actually I'll just call him Mr. K) Mr. K seems like a very typical useless mayor type, but it's pretty interesting to see Leonard strike him down. By the way, forget what I said about Dwayne. I don't think Dwayne would ever be that cool-- that card trick thing was hilarious.

-crabe yosh




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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! Here I am to begin diving into this...also wow put together these chapters are absolutely massive....

First Impression: This was an interesting start. We've got a creepy mansion which appears to have toon of stigma attached as the result of a wanted man who owned said mansion and perhaps a few other mysteries that have yet to be elaborated to us considering this is only the first of many parts in this first chapter.

Anyway let's get right to it,

In the small community of Sehlingen was a villa.

To the utter amazement of all those visitors who had strayed there, this villa was the eyesore of the farming village. The mighty building had been abandoned for many years and was decaying in the shadow of the market square. Like a compost heap, the building was rotting inside and out and was shunned by all its inhabitants.


OKay...we be getting started with some good ol' fashioned description...hmm, with the kind of title this chapter has, talking about an empty falling apart villa definitely makes this a rather fun entrance to things here...well well, let's see where this one is headed.

It had stood empty for over fifty years. The people of Sehlingen did not talk about it, it was like a thorn stuck in their village. It could not be removed. It was like a deadly disease or a leper, it was shunned and ignored. But it was part of the village and therefore part of the community. The grounds of the mansion were closed off, letting nature do its work there in silence.

Well that is a lot of emphasis on the fact that it was a bit of a blight to the town but they can't really seem to get rid of the thing. Its bordering on almost having a bit too much emphasis but for now I think it can be allowed to slide.

Over the course of time, the hedges around it had developed into an untamed monster. Ivy grew over partly withered leaves, spiders and insects inhabited the many brittle holes in the low entrance wall. The wall crumbled everywhere, the left statue of the column was missing from the entrance gate, while the right one lay broken on the ground. A thick branch of the oak tree that stood next to the entrance had smashed a granite swan into its component parts. The storm that was responsible had scattered the tiles of the roof in the front garden.

Anyone standing in front of the entrance and inspecting the mansion could not help but notice that the windows were almost broken everywhere. Shards lay inside and outside. The entrance door was smashed, torn curtains blowing in the wind and the draught turned them into ghosts. Squeaking doors and creaking wooden boards foreshadowed disaster for whoever heard them in the night.


Well...we can definitely imagine this in some lovely detail here...you're going very in depth in focusing on this piece, and the descriptions of how its lost its splendour over time and fallen in disrepair really seem to tell a story all of its own, which is quite nice to see here...I feel like you're also building towards something here with all of this description.

Today, the mansion is no longer entered by anyone. Fearing to be cursed or even killed by a supernatural power, the old people used it to scare the children.

The storm could not have done it all on its own. The people of Sehlingen are guilty of one thing. They were not responsible for building it, but they were responsible for its decay and wanton destruction.

After all these years of decay, only recently did a young man named Léonard appeared who intended to call the villa his own.


Yay!! It was building towards something..and it considered to be somewhat creepy and haunted. I do love those types of houses...and this one has certainly gotten a longer introduction that most of that kind..so I have a feeling this is going to be somewhat central to the plot here.

Léonard slowly got closer to his goal.

He had been working towards this for a long time. As part of the renovation to put everything in order, he managed to reap the fruits of his labour, at least on this day. The last cobwebs were removed as he stowed a sack of yellowed leaves, punctured blankets, and broken roof tiles in a corner. The broom, all grey and damp from the leaking roof had served its purpose and was to be disposed of as well. He knelt for a while beside the old, reddish-brown cherry wood cupboard. He read the partly torn and mouldy notice that someone had stuck on the still intact door. Apart from the numerous dead spiders, it was the only interesting thing in the attic.


Okay...this kind of feels like a second start to a first chapter rather than a different scene....this is now cutting to this person being mostly done with renovating the creepy villa and kind og going around taking a lot of places to put in finishing touches.

He had only been there for a day, but the people of Sehlingen already knew that Léonard was a young man looking for a quick buck. They immediately avoided him, not without letting him in on it by standing in front of the property and letting their curiosity play with them. Who would want to enter this disgraceful place?


Hmm..well that particular mode of arrival certainly sounds like it could be a bit of a bad omen...but hmm, also seems like a typical reaction from the village folk there when someone appears from out of town and immediately the creepiest place in the village that also happens to be considered a stain on said village.

Léonard strolled downstairs after closing the chamber door. The past that lurked within these walls was still alive. Arriving in the foyer, he was startled at the sight of the rubble and the missing furniture. He thought he was seeing boyish pranks when he visited the rest of the rooms, but after a while he gradually realised that all the residents had taken part in destroying the mansion internally. The façade smelled of charred paper, romantic landscape paintings became cruel acts of war and the destroyed cupboards and tables were victims of an insatiable beast. The buffet lacked plates and cutlery, the divan in the reception room lacked loins.

It gave him an ounce of motivation after the inspection. He had started with the attic, as there was the least to do there.

He just didn't expect to have to clean up so much. Léonard knew about the resentment of the locals and the resentment towards the mansion. He couldn't resist going to the market that morning to buy some fruits. By then he had already noticed the washerwomen on the wall, staring at him suspiciously. Some gossiped in a loud tone that he could overhear.

Léonard liked this attention and couldn't help smiling as he lit a cigarette and wished the group of gossips a good day.


Hmm...well...this is reinforcing the earlier ideas that were already mentioned, but hmm, all of this is making me thing that the first part of this piece could really just be dismissed as a prologue...with some of those details being interspersed into this part down here...cause really this is sounding like I just read two different openings here rather than one continuous flow there, cause quite a few points from earlier are getting repeated somewhat here.

When Léonard entered the pub that evening, it was silent for a brief moment. Motionless, the musician stared at him while one of the card players tried to make one of his cards disappear under the table. Léonard grinned and greeted every single table he passed before coming to the counters. At first he stared at the painting of a hunter hanging behind the liquors before whistling confidently to call the host to him.

The music of the accordion began anew as the innkeeper glared at Léonard, talking to a man who, with his bowler hat and suit, didn't really fit into this pub.

Léonard whistled a second time when the man in the bowler hat came up to him and introduced himself as Mayor Krautmann. The young man was surprised but very pleased that no one less than the head of the village came to him.


Well...you can clearly see the village folks are not at all being subtle about their interesting in this dude here, but Léonard totally does not seem to care about this one bit judging by how he just acts like nothing is out of the ordinary despite all of these little things happening wherever he visits in the village.

"Come with me," the mayor ordered when they had their glasses and a pack of matches.

Léonard followed him into a gloomy corner opposite the card players. For a moment, Léonard remained silent. He watched the scene while the mayor looked at him, hoping he would say a word.

"You moved into the villa," he said after the silent seconds.

Léonard raised his glass and wanted to toast. Krautmann didn't seem to want to understand his humour.

"Exactly."


Well Krautmann's reaction is interesting. It seems like he's not exactly disapproving of what Léonard has done here, but more like he's genuinely unable to make sense of why anyone would ever want to move into it. His question is more like "WHY???" rather than "How dare you?"

Léonard clearly recognised how the mayor shuddered at these words and the bowler hat almost fell off his head. The moustache vibrated even seconds after Léonard's revelation. Krautmann tried to grab his glass, succeeding only after several attempts.

"I don't suppose you know what this mark of shame is all about," he tried to explain calmly. "If you have indeed inherited this monstrosity, it means you are related to this de Waarfay guy."


OKay....that last part was a bit awkward, the conversation sounded rather formal and relatively professional, and then having a tag at the end with just "this guy" kind of sticks out like a sore thumb...I dunno, could just be me, but that derailed the flow a bit.

"It's nice to know he's still remembered. That de Waarfay guy was my grandfather," Léonard smiled, "That's why I love these small villages. Everyone knows everyone."

With a mock manner, he tossed a cigarette to the mayor. He took it and put it in his pocket with his tissue.

"I don't suppose you know that your grandfather is wanted."

"He's dead," returned Léonard curtly, "Shall I give you the address of the cemetery?"


Well....I suppose you can clearly see why the village would have a bit of prejudice about that sort of thing, especially in small communities, black marks like that tend to be remembered for a looooog time and they always want to squash it all away and let things fall into disrepair and nothingness. Léonard here also seems to have lost his cool for a bit, he was being rather patient with everyone till know, but its clear at this point that he wants the mayor to shut up about that.

Léonard blew smoke in the mayor's face. Krautmann turned all red. Even his moustache and bowler hat seemed to turn red. For a moment he stood in front of the table, about to throw his beer glass at Léonard when cheering rang out from the table of card players. The cheater seemed to have won and shouted into the room that he was paying for all the drinks. Léonard kept his eyes on the mayor and counted to ten with him in his mind to get down a bit.

With a fake smile, he tried to turn the situation in his favour.

"When you leave the village, I am willing to speak to the priest to have your sins forgiven."


Well the mayor clearly is not going to play ball with the kind of attitude that Léonard brings to the table. It looks like he's come here with a bit of a purpose here in this villa, although the mention of him wanting to find out who caused damage to the mansion seems like more of a fun retort than something he seriously intends to pursue. And the potentially haunted theory really seems to be coming up there quite subtly with than thinly veiled almost threatening comment by the mayor.

Léonard laughed out loud.

"Doesn't he already have enough to do with the sinners in this village?" he asked, coughing. "I just want to play a little detective and do some investigating of my own."

He stood beside the mayor and tossed him some coins.

"I thank you for the invitation. Help yourself to some liquor before you go to sleep. And don't worry, I won't accuse anyone of emptying the safe in my library."

Léonard strolled through the pub and went to the card players, where he introduced himself with an elegant bow and placed the cheater´s card on the table.

"You seem to have lost something earlier."

Léonard laughed and made his way out of the pub before he could witness the coming minutes.

"Have a good evening, gentlemen," he said with a wave.


Hmm, well I am liking the character of Léonard so far, he seems to be the type to be nice to most people, but he won't let anyone trample over him either. He's got the backbone to stand up for himself and is more than good at getting a few good verbal jabs in himself...well...color me intrigued so far :D

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, this was a fun read, the mansion and everything around it isn't quite manage to hook me on its own. There's nothing particularly unique on that front, although I suspect the mystery will be a unique one that can properly hook me once that's revealed. At the moment, what really keeps me wanting to read is this dynamic between the villagers and Léonard and mostly just Léonard cause he seems like a really interesting character with a few hidden goals that I definitely want to find out more about. Well..anyway that's it for this part, I'll meet you in the next one tomorrow :D

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




MailicedeNamedy says...


Thank you for your review! :D



KateHardy says...


You're Welcome!! :D



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Sat Sep 04, 2021 5:40 pm
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ForeverYoung299 wrote a review...



Hey Mail(ice)! Forever here for a short review!

Like a compost heap, the building was rotting inside and out and was shunned by all its inhabitants.

It's better to write inside-out. I think it reads better.

He read the partly torn and mouldy notice that someone had stuck on the still intact door.

This notice seems to be quite an interesting thing and the fact that youd didn't include what was written on the notice makes it even more interesting. :D

Now about Sehlingen. The place seems to be quite an interesting place and if I am not wrong, the story is set in Germany? That was a pretty bad way of reaching to the conclusions XD. However, there are chances I can be right. First of all, with the name of the person Leonard, it has a German origin. The same goes for Krauttman, it's a German name. Also, there is a place called Solingen in Germany, though it doesn't show any chances of your story being set in there. Anyway, Sehlingen appears to be a fictional town as Google didn't provide me with any real town named that.

I really liked how you provided with descriptions of the village and of the people living in there. Those are helpful in developing a fictional place like you said the people believed in Ghost. Everyone doesn't believe in that. The elders invented a great way of scaring the children!

Leonard(My keyboard is not allowing me to give that thing...) is an interesting character. I liked how you left it open to the readers to wonder if Leonard is a good and honest man. He might not be a good man.... We don't know. Perhaps, he have some evil intentions with that villa. Who knows. He appears to be quite a humourous person who has high quality jokes which normal people often fails to understand.

This de Waarfay guy seems even more interesting. And if I kind of go with the ghost theory and also the title, he seems to have done a murder. At least to the people it appears so. With this context, Leonard can be an investigator too who thought to investigate the matter. This Leonard has some traits of an investigator. We do get some hints. We will maybe get more hints in the next part about it.

Krauttman appears to be a normal person and kind of a representative of the village. However, we don't get enough information about him in this part, so no conclusions.

Something else which I noticed is sometimes thw descriptions feel to be a bit too much.

When you leave the village, I am willing to speak to the priest to have your sins forgiven."

Léonard laughed out loud.

"Doesn't he already have enough to do with the sinners in this village?" he asked, coughing. "I just want to play a little detective and do some investigating of my own."

He stood beside the mayor and tossed him some coins.

"I thank you for the invitation. Help yourself to some liquor before you go to sleep. And don't worry, I won't accuse anyone of emptying the safe in my library."

Léonard strolled through the pub and went to the card players, where he introduced himself with an elegant bow and placed the cheater´s card on the table.

"You seem to have lost something earlier."

Léonard laughed and made his way out of the pub before he could witness the coming minutes.

"Have a good evening, gentlemen," he said with a wave.

Here, I think you should sometimes specify the speaker. I got confused and had to re-read to understand who is speaking.

Overall, it did quite a good job in the setting and also we get a bit of hint of the plot that is to come.

Keep Writing!!

~Forever




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Mon Jun 28, 2021 9:12 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hi there Mailice! I've been meaning to read this for a while and get some of those later chapters out of the green room but I've wanted to start from the beginning to get a bit of context so here I finally am!

In the small community of Sehlingen was a villa.

This is a lovely opening, and it really sets the tone for the rest of the chapter. It's simple and almost fairy-tale like but also gives me Goblet of Fire vibes. A good mix in my opinion xD

It had stood empty for over fifty years. The people of Sehlingen did not talk about it, it was like a thorn stuck in their village. It could not be removed. It was like a deadly disease or a leper, it was shunned and ignored.

If I'm being picky, there's a lot of 'it was/it had/ it could' in this paragraph. Maybe you could change it up a little bit to improve the flow.

Fearing to be cursed or even killed by a supernatural power, the old people used it to scare the children.

This is a bit of a choppy sentence. I know what you're saying but I think there might be a better way to say it :). It also makes the transition from the house being the main subject to Léonard seem a bit quick.

Léonard is already an interesting character. I really like how you describe him and his mannerisms and how we can already see that he's going to cause conflict in this little village. But surely if he's doing up the villa they would be thankful? Then it won't be this run down thorn in the side of the village?

You've also introduced a lot of questions around his character and the others that he interacts with which is good for hooking your reader - it's going to be interesting to see how he and the rest of the characters develop throughout the novel. There are some sections of dialogue where the flow isn't quite right but it's only small sections so overall it works well!

I'm not going to be able to get through more chapters of this today, but hopefully I'll be able to work my way through them soon! Looking forward to reading more of Léonard's fiesty character!

~Icy




MailicedeNamedy says...


Thank you for your review, Icy! :D



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Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:56 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi there, Mailice! I love the opening line in this novel – it definitely leaves a good first impression. It sets the scene for a mystery story centred around this villa and bridges into the setting descriptions nicely. The genres you’ve chosen for this make a lot of sense to me, and this early chapter has just enough eerie details to start building suspense.

Characters

Léonard at first seemed so quiet, since he seemed to be minding his own business and cleaning in the first scene, which is why it was striking when he revealed his smug side. From that line about the gossipers, I got the sense that he didn’t care what the villagers thought of him, or even maybe wanted them to be hostile. He seemed to have this underlying resentment towards them, which foreshadowed the scene where he discussed the break-ins to the villa. He also seems clever and perceptive, noticing the cheating player at the pub.

Meanwhile, I get the sense that Krautmann on his own won’t be the main obstacle to Léonard’s aims. He comes across as somewhat pathetic in comparison to Léonard. The bowler hat falling off was one part that made him seem not quite as put together – he’s clearly frightened of Léonard no matter how indignant he is trying to act.

Plot

I really like that Léonard’s goal is laid out so early on in the novel! From what I gather, he wants to find out what really happened to his grandfather, and it seems the villagers aren’t keen on him finding out, since they don’t seem to be telling the full story. There could be an element of vengeance there as well, with how he brings up the safe in the end.

"I don't suppose you know that your grandfather is wanted."
"He's dead," returned Léonard curtly, "Shall I give you the address of the cemetery?"


This quote also makes me think there may be some supernatural elements, specifically the undead, in this story, though I could be wrong.

Setting

A small village is always a great place to start a mystery story. I’m also guessing from the names that this is set in a German-speaking country? It’s a bit ambiguous as to what time period the story takes place in. Given that Léonard has a car, I’m guessing relatively modern. Some of the language in the narration also gives me the sense that it could be set either in the present-day or close to present-day – though the ambiguity could also have to do with it being a rural setting, since villages do feel like time capsules sometimes where nothing ever changes @_@

Style

Style-wise, my favourite scene is the conversation with Krautmann. The dialogue and descriptions mesh fluidly, with just enough going on in background. I liked how the card players acted as a sort of framing device to begin and end the scene. I think that helped to create this very unified mood of ominousness surrounding that whole exchange. Something about Léonard’s lighthearted façade contrasting with how the mayor is slowly losing his cool does make the scene chilling for me.

It was like a deadly disease or a leper, it was shunned and ignored.


I’m not sure if this description is needed since the previous lines already mentioned that the villa was “shunned”. There was also another simile used to describe it, I think, and I thought it would be nice to mix up the descriptive techniques a bit. As a suggestion, maybe a colour connotation or a sound device reminiscent of disease could be used, rather than a second simile?

Over the course of time, the hedges around it had developed into an untamed monster.


That being said, I loved a lot of the description of the villa in that first scene. The metaphor “untamed monster” was really striking, and I also like the details you put in such as the crushed granite swan and the two columns.

That's all

Hopefully some of these comments are helpful to you. Keep writing! <3
Cheers,
-Lim




MailicedeNamedy says...


Thank you so much for your review!

You really put a lot of effort into this huge build-up and I like how you analysed everything. I had a lot of fun reading the review. :D


You're partly right about the setting; it's supposed to be based on a German-speaking country (is German so obvious?), but it's set in a fictional world based on ours in the late twenties.

Thanks again!



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quitecontrary wrote a review...



Heya! (am I putting off homework to read more? Of course I am! ;))
This is very different from your original first chapter, and while I liked both, Léonard's character is much better portrayed here. I don't want to do a super long review, so I'll just hit the changed plot points. First off, I was slightly disappointed we didn't get to see Léonard drive into the town. I liked the way you set up Sehlingen in your original chapter and then slowly weaved Léonard in, but in this one I almost feel like Léonard was a part of the town when he's first introduced. It's not a big worry, but maybe a small bit of the car scene would help us understand who he is, even if it's just expanding on the flashback.
Secondly, I really liked that you added more depth to the characters in this chapter. The life in the village isn't necessarily more vibrant, but it has much more character and the townspeople don't all blend into one another. The last scene is also very powerful in the way that it shows Léonard's confidence and disdain for the village people. I haven't gotten to your most recent chapter yet, but this description solidifies my idea of Léonard as a self-inflated character with a very cool demeanor. I almost wonder what would happen if he got mad...?
I think that's all that caught my eye! As always, you've done a great job with your poetic descriptions of the mansion. One last thing I kind of wish you kept in was more description of the cliffs and the woods, but it's probably a good idea to tackle those when the characters actually interact with them :D I think at one point I told you it didn't make sense to introduce the cliffs especially if they won't be touched upon for a couple chapters, but I did love reading those descriptions when you wrote them!

Happy writing!




MailicedeNamedy says...


Thank you for your review as always! The cliff thing in particular is something I want to add later, when it becomes a bit more relevant. Otherwise, I think it was a bit too much information at the beginning.



quitecontrary says...


That makes sense! I suppose I just can't wait until it finally shows up ;)



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Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:36 pm
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Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review! I've grown accustomed to seeing chapters of this in the green room, and I think I've reviewed one... maybe? I don't think I've ever read the beginning in depth, though, so I'm looking forward to it! Anyways. On with the review!

I really enjoyed reading this piece! It's a very engaging beginning. I like the two different parts of it, where you start by describing the house and then go on to introduce your main character, Léonard.

One of my favorite things about this piece was your descriptions and the overall... vibe (I think that's the word I'm looking for) you created. The beginning is one of my favorite parts I think. The way you describe the manor... it's really very skilled. I love the way you personify the plants around it, calling the hedge a "monster." It painted this clear visual in my head of the gnarled branches and leaves. Nice work!

One thing I wondered about was the characters' goals. I had a little trouble following what each character wanted and what the main problem was. This led to a bunch of questions that kind of distracted me from enjoying your lovely writing. What is Léonard doing in Sehlingen? Why does the mayor seem to resent him? What did his grandfather do? What sins does he need forgiven? What is he investigating? By solidifying these things and making them straightforward, you can throw in more subtle things later on. I get that this is supposed to be a mystery, but if everything is vague/a mystery, the reader just gets confused. However, if you make one thing clear, the reader is going to build off of that and want to keep reading. Mysteries aren't about keeping everything vague; they're about defining a question and letting the characters and readers try and figure it out.

Specifics

"Two wheat." the mayor demanded in his gruff voice.


This is small, but I noticed you put a period after "wheat" when it should be a comma.

"And a match," Léonard grinned and tried to hand the innkeeper a cigarette, which he refused to accept.


Since "grinned" isn't a dialogue tag, you actually need to put a period after "match."

Overall: nice work!! You're a very talented writer, and I look forward to reading more of the revised versions of this piece!




MailicedeNamedy says...


Thank you for your review!



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orbiteliza wrote a review...



Hi! I'm here to drop a review. I'll organize it into what I liked and what I disliked, but I didn't dislike much.

May I start this by saying that I am so into your story! Your description skills and vocabulary are just...phenomenal. It feels so seasoned if that even makes sense. From the get-go, I was intrigued, with the fresh one-sentence hooks and the immerse descriptions of the places. I'm kind of already terrified of whatever is happening in the villa. Also, the mayor is very sus. Foreshadowing? Who knows. Anywho—your descriptions are definitely your strength. I felt like I was there, truly.

So, for the bad. There really is no bad. I'm thoroughly impressed by how well-edited this is, and the pacing of it is well done. My only complaint is minor—some of the dialogue isn't feeling exactly how I think you'd like to portray it. As an example, "I don't suppose you know what this mark of shame is all about!" he tried to explain calmly." The exclamation mark gives, well, an exclamation or shouting feel. It's not really a big thing though. Just something I noticed. Stellar prose easily makes up for this.

Overall: I felt like I was reading a mystery book from Barnes and Nobles. Or historical fiction. Something like that. It was good. The description was phenomenal. The dialogue could be edited. It's still good. Verdict? I'm hooked! Keep writing and uploading.




MailicedeNamedy says...


Thank you for your review!




Stupidity's the deliberate cultivation of ignorance.
— William Gaddis