SCARLET IBIS

Scarlet IbisStory Idea for Novel – Inspired by Lullaby Of Birdland 

In late 1988 a London detective travels to Maracaibo, Venezuela to interview the last living person with knowledge about the brutal murder of a newlywed couple in 1915. Dolores, the daughter of a British diplomat and a Venezuelan national, was travelling with her parents on the same yacht where the murder took place. She has agreed to talk to Darren, who’s about to retire from the England Police Department. Dolores is 83 now, her health is fragile, and she doesn’t worry anymore about the consequences of telling someone the secret she’s been keeping since she was ten.

Dolores welcomes Darren to her flat in Maracaibo’s North Zone one early afternoon. While sipping tea, she reminds him the tragic story of Charles and Nicole.

Charles was the son of a wealthy Texas oil baron, while Nicole was the daughter of a British diplomat and had grown up around the world. The lavish wedding had taken place at the sumptuous estate of Nicole’s parents in Trinidad, with dozens of Scarlet Ibises playing in the background.

While living in Trinidad, Nicole had asked her father to start fostering a habitat for Scarlet Ibises to live and reproduce. She thought they were the most beautiful birds God had created.

After three months of honeymooning through Europe and North Africa, they came back to the Americas. Charles was to start work at the newly formed Caribbean Petroleum in Maracaibo. Since no large boats could sail into Maracaibo Lake, travellers coming from Europe had to transfer to smaller boats in Curacao to complete their journey. As the boat came into the Gulf of Maracaibo Lake, gunshots were heard. The lifeless bloodied bodies of Charles and Nicole were found in the yacht’s drawing room; Charles had a pistol on his hand. A blood trail went out of the room but ended at the stern. It was assumed that the wounded killer had fallen off the yacht. Everybody on the ship was accounted for and had an alibi, though.

After Nicole’s death, her father gathered all the Scarlet Ibises and placed them in a large cage. He wished to keep them all in one place. It was his belief that by doing that he could keep Nicole’s soul nearby.

The only other person, to show an interested in this case was Darren’s father, Nigel. In 1915, he was sent to Venezuela by the English Police Department to investigate the murder of the British National. Upon returning to England, without any answers, Nigel became obsessed with the case, however just as he was about to crack the case, he died mysteriously.

Years later, Darren, his youngest son, decides to look into the Charles and Nicole cold case to see if he can find answers. More important, he thinks he could get clues as to his father’s death.

As Dolores is about to tell Darren her secret, Teresa, Dolores’ lady-in-waiting, interrupts the meeting to remind Dolores that it’s time for her physical therapy and tells Darren he will have to leave. Dolores encourages Darren to call on her again the next day. After he leaves, Teresa reminds Dolores about the deal they made many years ago, and the dire consequences if she tells anybody what really happened that dreadful night in 1915. Once on the street, Darren suffers a heart attack and dies.

Fast-forward 25 years, Darren’s grandson, Derrick, has followed his grandfather’s steps and works for the England Police Department. One day while visiting his grandmother at a retirement home, she shows him a newspaper article about the passing of Dolores Edgerton, the oldest British citizen living outside the UK. The grandmother gives Derrick a key to a safe deposit and tells him that he can now continue the investigation that killed his grandfather in 1988.

After that, the story takes off. Early on, Derrick discovers that Charles and Nicole have been reincarnating for the last hundred years, unable to reunite with one another. Not until the mystery of their murder is solved can their souls be reunited again and go on with the life they were supposed to start in 1915. After travelling through England, the United States and Venezuela, Derrick finds himself back at the Trinidad Estate. The cage, where all the Scarlet Ibises have been kept captive for almost 100 years, is the setting for the climax and resolution of the mystery.

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