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The winter of 1963 was the coldest winter of the century in the UK, at a time when post-war austerity and social class divisions made for a miserable life for many people. These were the days of back boilers, bubble and squeak, paraffin oil stoves, gas works, steam trains, and starting handles. The 1960s technological and social revolution hadn’t happened yet.

Ronnie and Jenny Delaney live in the south coast town of Poole, close by the gas works. They get by - Jenny works in the local pottery and Ronnie runs a paraffin delivery round, helping to keep his grateful customers warm. But then something unexpected turns up on the paraffin round: an eyeball. It doesn't take Ronnie long to work out that it's got something to do with his past as a small-time crook, back in the East End of London. Someone's messing him about. He can handle it. Or so he thinks.

But things start to get complicated, and he quickly finds himself way out of his depth. It's going to take someone cleverer than Ronnie to get to the bottom of this one. And that someone is closer than he could ever have imagined ...

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  • The Eye of the Storm: It's Boxing Day 1962, and the first snow has begun to fall. Next morning, Ronnie makes an unexpected find on his paraffin round. And that leads to meeting someone from his past - someone he'd rather have forgotten.

  • The Naming of Parts: Ronnie visits Veronica James, and gets another surprise. Back home, an inspector calls, and Ronnie has to tell Jenny what's going on, and reveal something of his past.

  • Happy New Year: Ronnie and Jenny celebrate New Year with dinner out, and find that someone else is in need of Ronnie's services.

  • Charlotte Comes to Stay: Ronnie gets some useful information from a friend of a friend, but finds himself in a spot of bother on the quay. And a new friend comes to stay ...

  • King Coal: More clues turn up, with Jenny making a find at the pottery and Ronnie getting closer to finding out exactly who the victim is.

  • Chapter 6: The Picnic. Jenny reveals something of her past, while Ronnie discovers something more sinister than a scotch egg.

  • Veronica Comes Clean: Ronnie finds out who it was that told Veronica to contact him. And it's someone closer than he would have imagined ...

  • Dead in the Water: where Ronnie gets some new clothes, but can't hold back the tears when events take a downward turn.

  • Battle of the Giants: Ronnie and Jenny see the town's power brokers in action, but Ronnie comes of worse in another little encounter.

  • Exile: After getting into some very hot water with DI Parker, Ronnie has to cross the water to escape, while Jenny proves to be more resourceful than he could ever have imagined.

  • Railway Terrace: Jenny waves goodbye to Ronnie, and goes home to Mum and Dad. She needs to talk all this through, with someone who knows what's going on ... Author/narrator's note: All this now requires some suspension of disbelief, in terms of the narrative voice! And I'm sorry if Jenny keeps lapsing from Dorset to Norfolk, I'm doing my best ... it's just that I've lived in Norfolk more recently ...

  • Home Comforts: Jenny settles back into life with Mum and Dad, and sits out the snowstorms ...

  • Footprints in the Snow: Jenny and Veronica use their contacts to make plans. But can they trust each other?

  • Silurus closing: Jenny goes to London, to learn more from party comrades. And the man on the motorbike closes in ...

  • Across the Water: Jenny and Veronica go looking for the kid on the estate, and Jenny takes a cold trip across the water. Silurus is closing in ...

  • The Warning: Jenny goes to see Inspector Parker. But while she's there, Silurus prepares a welcome home for her ...

  • A Place of Safety: Trying to escape her pursuer, Jenny puts her safety into Veronica's hands. And a trip to London reveals more useful truths, from one who knows ...

  • Friends and Comrades: Jenny goes to see an old friend, and confronts her with an uncomfortable truth. And she receives a telephone call, from a comrade in London.

  • Jenny and Veronica go to Poole Civic Centre, where an accomplice helps them uncover more information about Burford's activities.

  • While Veronica is away, Jenny works out who Silurus really is, and finds new courage to carry on.

  • Them Bones Again: Jenny and Veronica prize more information out of Charlie, and Jenny has an unexpected visitor.

  • Aboard the Petworth: Jenny and Veronica see what they can find on board - Jenny investigates, and Veronica keeps the crew occupied.

  • Cecil Unmasked: Jenny and Veronica go to see Fred's mum who, with a little persuasion, tells them who Catfish really is. But on the way home, there's an accident ...

  • Charlotte and the Red Lion: Jenny and Veronica set off for Wapping, but are forced to break their journey at a hotel in Farnham. There, as Jenny tells Veronica something of her past, they realise that they share a dark secret.

  • Execution Dock: Jenny and Veronica investigate the dragon's lair, and finally discover the truth, to their potential peril.

  • Chapter 26: A Condemned Angel. Jenny reaches into the depths of her ingenuity to aid her escape, and the flames in the night consume everything. Almost everything ...

  • Homecoming: Jenny and Veronica's plans lead to their ultimate conclusion. But Veronica has one more surprise - although maybe, it's no surprise at all.

  • Paraffin Winter is now available as an e-book.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Logo This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 license.

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