William Deverell — Novelist

The official website of William Deverell, Winner of the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North American Crime Writing

The Astonishing Events That Transpired While I Was Away

Bill’s Blog / July 19, 2015

Terrible news greeted me on my return from Costa Rica. An old friend is in a coma.

I saw nothing amiss on pulling into the yard but on entering the house saw signs it had been lived in—by some grubby drifter, I assumed, though I didn’t call the RCMP right away in case he was, as it turned out, an acquaintance.

I raced through all the rooms, finally up to the loft, my office, where in the midst of the disarray was a printout of a screenplay treatment by Bry Pomerantz. My printer was still on, as was his laptop computer. Mr. Pomerantz is a fellow writer whom I haven’t seen for decades and only occasionally heard from: calls from distant locales, usually after midnight, when he was ingesting cocaine or crystal meth or similar high-speed narcotics.

Cluttered about were several empty bottles: beer, wine, an 18-year-old Highland malt. More nervous-making was the shaving mirror on my desk, with a straw. One of the windows was wide open, and an ashtray perched on the ledge had a collection of butts and what appeared to be cannabis roaches.

It was when I peered out the window that I saw the body, lying supine on the grass. I was calling 911, frantically shouting information, as I raced down there, and in my haste I fell and bruised my hand on the rocks lining the nearby flower bed. Following instructions, I found his pulse and confirmed that he was breathing.body on grass

Great credit goes to our island’s emergency responders, who were here in fewer than nine minutes: ambulance, police, even a fire truck. The Medivac helicopter was already on its way from Victoria.

Mr. Pomerantz has now been two days in a coma in Victoria General Hospital. He had a concussion and a broken arm but otherwise his physical systems are all working.

There were, of course, some issues involving the coincidence of my sudden return and Mr. Pomerantz’s fall. I had a long, frank discussion with RCMP investigators, during which I learned, to my utter shock, that he had hacked into my blog, and was carrying on about some bizarre claim over the rights of one of my books. I became quite nervous when I was required to demonstrate how I injured my right hand on the stones retaining the flower bed.

But I explained to them Mr. Pomerantz’s history of drug abuse and mental illness, and given that all the indicia of an accident were there, it appears they have eliminated any prospect of foul play. It helped that the i.d. people found a half-full bottle of beer on the grass, with his prints. The likely scenario: he accidentally brushed it over the window ledge and in making a drunken grab for it, went over the ledge himself.

Just before posting this blog, I checked with the nursing station for Mr. Pomerantz’s ward. It appears he is able to wiggle the little finger of his left hand. Let us hope for the best.