This is the 2nd instalment of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about identity detective Rose Haldane. To start reading from the beginning, please click on the category ‘My Novel: Ignoring Gravity’ in the right hand menu.


Nick Maddox, managing director of Biocare Beauty, was sitting at his desk thinking about face cream. In particular, the failure of bottling machinery at the Scottish factory which manufactured his best-selling Natura-Refresha Night Flower serum. Should he shift production to Devon? Or cross his fingers that the machine would be fixed in time to fulfil his export order to France next week?

At that thought he leant back in his chair and allowed himself a small smile of achievement. Me, exporting face creams to France. It’s like selling an English striker to a Brazilian football club.

Having made the decision to trust the Scots, his mind shifted to the press interview with a financial journalist which was due to start… he glanced at his watch… five minutes ago. He sighed. It was the last in a schedule of PR interviews about his management buyout of the company. This was his least favourite part of the job, talking City talk with business journalists wearing expensive suits with all the latest techie gadgets examining his desk for similar gadgets, sure they knew more about face creams than he did.

Grace [photo: David Austin Roses]

Grace [photo: David Austin Roses]


“Miss Haldane?”

Rose sat bolt upright and stopped breathing. Her notepad and pens scattered across the smooth grey slate floor, coming to a stop beside a pair of well-polished black shoes.

She looked up. A neat man with silvery hair stood in the open doorway. His lips twitched, Rose was unsure whether with disdain or amusement. Neither was the impression she wanted to make.

“Sorry to keep you waiting. I’m Nick Maddox.” He bent down to retrieve her stationery, placed it on the coffee table in front of her, then sat down in the Mastermind chair and looked down at her.

She sat straighter and pulled down what she now realised, given the sofa, was an unsuitably short skirt. Her mother would have disapproved.

“I’m Rose Haldane, from the Herald, but of course you know that. Thanks for the opportunity to interview you, it’s…” She couldn’t think of the right adjective.

He just looked at her, his eyebrow slightly raised.

She tried to shuffle her bottom into a more comfortable position without seeming to move and without ruffling the hem of her skirt even higher.

“So, so… shall we start? Tell me… what’s it like being your own boss?” Rubbish, Rose. What a predictable opening question to ask an MD who liked the company so much he bought it. To gain a little time, and to avoid looking at him, she opened her shorthand notepad.
© Sandra Danby

… in IGNORING GRAVITY #3: Rose vows not to put words into Maddox’s mouth.