In November we hosted our first ever ‘Crime Fiction’ Festival, in collaboration with authors from Crime Cymru. We hosted author talks by the Crime Cymru writers in our libraries, and we also invited short story submissions by local amateur writers as part of the ‘Short Crime Stories Competition’.
We were thrilled with the stories we received for the competition, which was judged by Crime Cymru authors Matt Johnson and Alis Hawkins. And we are excited to announce that they’ve chosen Claudette Evans as the winner, with her story ‘The Hotel Receptionist’. The judges thought that Claudette created ‘A simple story well told with a good story arc and carefully-chosen details, which place the reader nicely in the midst of the action.’
Claudette has won a book set by Alis Hawkins as her prize, as well as a notebook. The second and third prize winners received a book and notebook too.
Congratulations to Claudette – we hope you will enjoy reading her story as much as we did!
The Hotel Receptionist –
“Westbeach Hotel.” The conversation that followed was mostly one-sided; long pauses as the caller talked, occasionally punctuated with a brusque “yes” or “no” from the Hotel’s receptionist. Returning the handset with some force onto its cradle, Eunice Hathaway, the name badge resembling a medal pinned to her black jacket, returned to assessing the list of imminent arrivals.
As the resort’s premier coaching Hotel, the Westbeach boasted 465 bedrooms, and though a little dated, all were en-suite. The rooms were clean and cheap, making it attractive to a more mature, less affluent clientele.
The rotation of the swing door, accompanied by a growing volume of voices alerted Eunice to the arrival of the final coach of the day. Tweaking her bun and adjusting her glasses; the frames along with her attire, made Eunice look older than her twenty-eight years. Her crisp white shirt buttoned to the neck, all gave the appearance of a trustworthy, but forgettable individual.
The Hotel was fully booked for the week, and clasping her hands together, Eunice pulled her facial muscles into a well-practised fake smile, as one by one she signed them in, collecting the monetary balance due. Few used cards, some presented cheques, but the majority paid in cash, as this holiday was something they’d ‘put by for’ all year. Rarely did they request a receipt! For these, Eunice reserved a special smile and often exchange niceties.
“Ah, Mr Jackson” cried the Manager, attracting the attention of a rather portly gentleman the following morning. “I’m sorry to trouble you” he stuttered, “but we do like guests to settle their account on arrival.”
“Ee lad, I paid that matronly looking lass last night” he replied. “Paid in full. Cash!” His face becoming flushed with anger.
“Not according to our records” replied the manager. “None of your party did!”
“Then where’s our money lad?”
Their raised voices soon attracted a crowd. “You should call the Police?” yelled one.
Later a confused DCI was trying to get his head around exactly what had transpired. “Who was on duty last evening?” he asked.
“Eunice Hathaway,” replied the Manager, wringing his hands, as he tried to come to grips with the amount of money stolen. “She was so efficient.”
“Yes” replied the Chief Inspector, nodding his head, “very efficient! We’ve checked her room – nothing there!”
Unpinning the bun, Alex Thackery’s thick auburn hair fell across her shoulders. Grinning, she surveyed the mixture of crumpled notes and coins. “Silly old fools” she laughed, sorting her ill-gotten gains into plastic bank bags. Not that she’d any intention of banking the money. That would be stupid. The bags were for convenience. A little here and a little there.
Packing the Receptionist’s attire into her suitcase, Alex looked around the room to insure she’d left nothing behind. Dropping the keys at the unattended office of the Youth Hostel, she set of for the train station. A ticket to Llandudno in her hand, and a job offer for Hotel Receptionist in her handbag.