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Putting Bermuda in a good light

A former resident is reliving his glory days on the Island by writing a thriller series based partly in Bermuda.

Accountant Martin Smith lived in Bermuda from 1968 to 1970 when he worked for the firm Moore Stephens.

He is now living in a small village in Wales not far from the Brecon Beacons. His new novel Minion or Master, began as an exercise in a creative-writing class.

“I am now aged 68 but feel much younger,” said Mr Smith. “I still work full time being self employed. A few years ago, I felt I should develop a new interest so I signed up with a local college for an evening course on creative writing.

“I wrote poems and have had a few published. As part of my course work, I also created the main character of Minion or Master, George Howden, as an old man.

“I started to think about what his background would have been. Once I started, I couldn't stop. The plot and story evolved as I wrote.”

In Minion or Master George moves to Bermuda to work, as a young man (just like Mr Smith).

He meets a young civil servant who has come out from London to work at Government House. They form a friendship.

George falls in love with a Bermudian girl working in the bank.

Her sister gets lured into drugs and goes to New York in search of what turns out to be a bogus modelling career. She gets herself in trouble, and George rescues her.

“The story starts in Africa,” said Mr Smith, “then moves to Bermuda, New York and the Atlantic Ocean exploring the characters relationships against the background of drug dealing, arms smuggling, power politics, murder and sex.

“In two short months, George Howden, an inexperienced young businessman, falls in love and is forced to fight for his life and his reputation.”

The theme of the book is how circumstance can change personal relationships.

Mr Smith said the most challenging part about writing Minion or Master was keeping the plot moving at a good pace, and keeping all the different interweaving storylines from getting tangled.

He enjoyed inserting little touches about life in Bermuda in the 1960s. Youngsters will be surprised to learn that back in the 1960s when gangsters were on the road and needed to call back to base, fast, they had to find a pay phone.

There were no cell phones. And if you didn't have the right amount of change in your pocket, you couldn't place the call.

“There is a scene in Par-la-Ville Park in the City of Hamilton where George and his girlfriend have their lunch,” said Mr Smith. “As they sit there they can just see the funnel of the old cruise ship Franconia, coming into dock.

“George rides a scooter. He couldn't have a car, because there were restrictions. He really wanted an Austin Cambridge car.

“The novel puts Bermuda in quite a good light. Hopefully, it will get the Island some publicity.”

Mr Smith said, unfortunately, he hasn't been back to Bermuda since the 1970s, although he has always wanted to come back.

“I know a lot has changed since I was there,” he said. “I would love to come back. I have fond memories of the Island.”

Minion or Master was published by Author House, a subsidiary of Penguin and Random House.

Mr Smith had to finance the publishing of his first book, but he is hoping that when he is finished with his second it might be picked up by a mainstream publishing house.

The book is available now, online on websites such as www.amazon.com.

For more information see his website www.minionormaster.com.

Former Bermuda resident Martin Smith with his new book Minion or Master.

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Published May 22, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated May 21, 2014 at 7:27 pm)

Putting Bermuda in a good light

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