Dear Mrs. Know-it-all, aka Madam Mariana:
I am the taller, more beautiful sister of the notorious Zara Persil-Pendleton, who is getting all of the attention as usual. As if money-management skills were everything…well, they’re not! But, to the point, I have been dating a very tall, very handsome man who has turned out to be something of an amoral killer. His preferred technique is poisoned hot chocolate.
As I am very fond of hot chocolate, I find him irresistible.
He is also (ahem!) a spectacularly skilled and generous lover.
Alas, he has a propensity not just for killing off inconvenient ladies with the afore-mentioned (Zara taught me to say aforementioned) chocolate—Swiss chocolate, I might add, rich, deep, creamy and sweet—but also for theft and mayhem.
So, Brainiac Madam Mariana, how do I stop seeing him without, for example, being poisoned myself, or getting carved up with a knife?
Lilly Persil, the older and infinitely more sophisticated of the sisters, I might add
Madam Mariana does not advise on sibling rivalry, nor is she biased, though she too has an over-developed (ha! Made you look!) sensitivity to any inference that she is too short, or too scrawny, or somewhat plain compared to her own spendthrift sister.
And, she’d like to add, money-management skills are exceedingly valuable: beauty and a knock-out figure fade but the check-book doesn’t.
It’s a well-known fact that amoral killers have extraordinary egos, as well a tendency to turn on anyone whom they perceive as a threat to their freedom from arrest and incarceration. They prize loyalty above any other virtue, except, of course, public adulation. As such, if you were to leave your generous lover, he could certainly feel that the secrets he’s shared with you are now possibly state’s evidence, and would wish to silence you forthwith. (You may want to add forthwith to your vocabulary. It sounds erudite.)
I see only two ways out. The first, of course, is to turn him in to the authorities, and hope that they keep close tabs on him, as in keeping him safely in jail, and not giving him bail. Since that is something you have no control over, and given his wealth, demographics and connections he may easily avoid being held before he’s tried, and therefore be at liberty to bump you off, you may need to convince him that his secrets are safe with you.
How to do that?
Well, you could put yourself in a situation where his arrest would naturally cause you to be taken into custody with him, as a co-conspirator or an aid-and-abet accomplice.
Or you can preempt the problem by going to the authorities and giving a full, unexpurgated statement before ending the relationship, so the damage is already done.
If you choose the preemption route, I suggest you get out of town right afterwards, and have him think you’ve been abducted by aliens. Suggestive Facebook posts and photos of the helicopter-take-off-from-Mars may aid in the illusion that you are now out of reach of his knife or his hot-chocolate cup.
The second route is to ask your delightful and wordy sister to write a tell-all novel about your relationship, and have it become a best-seller. That solves several problems at once: it turns secrets into tabloid material, making silencing you something of a futile act; and it plays to our immoral killer’s sense of immortality. As the antagonist in a best-selling novel, he lives forever. His fame feeds his ego. His glories are sung from the tree-tops and mountains, to say nothing of the adulation that fills the glowing, breathless reviews. Maybe he can play himself in the movie!
Why eliminate the golden goose?
And so, Lilly, you are truly a golden goose, with the emphasis, according to Zara, on goose. But you’re alive, and that’s what counts!
Zara and Lilly star in the amazing story of two sisters, their mother’s memories, and a Neo-Nazi killer who will stop at nothing to fulfil his warped longings.
Happy Book-Birthday to Nine Tenths of the Law, which is available at your local bookstore, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and however and wherever you buy your books.
This month’s Books on Parade, featured in Ask Madam Mariana, have been: