I’m working hard on my  new book - The Money Tree.

People collide: Anila Jhabvala - a young Indian woman trying to escape the daily embrace of usury. Kate Wishart - hard driving Scottish head of Asia Pac region of Global American, with a late developing conscience. Ted Saddler, world weary American journalist forced out of his cosy New York life on a mad and potentially fatal quest to the outback of Madya Pradesh. Into the mix goes a gay hacker, an altruistic banker and a psychotic CEO…

Chapter One

The opening line of the email blinked at him, goading him:

-Are you lying or just muck-raking? The People’s Bank deserves. . .-  

Dammit, the Tribune’s firewalls were supposed to protect him from whingers. Ted Saddler hit the delete key without reading further. He returned to his draft column about the infiltration of Japanese banks by gangsters, the Yakuza. He was struggling to give it urgency; in Japanese corporate life it wasn’t really news. As he nibbled at his thumbnail a second email settled in the side bar. Same opening line. He gazed at it, then killed it and waited. Sure enough, it popped back up. Spam or persistence?

He could simply leave it till morning. Have the IT security boys take a look in case it carried a virus. He was getting good at putting things off. Like letters from Mary’s lawyer. On the other hand his boss had become unusually interested in this shady Asian bank. Was this some new test? Ted sucked in air and hit Enter. Up came the email, and up came the full challenge.

- Are you lying or just muck-raking? The People’s Bank deserves better! I can’t believe the Tribune (of all papers!) is putting its reputation on the line like this. You’re being duped. You and your paper are being used by everyone you quoted in your article. And people are getting hurt. I need to tell you what’s really going on. Do you want to hear it or are you only listening to one side? - Whistler-

Ted pursed his lips at the exclamation marks and the underlining. The tell-tale signs of the screwball. In his 20 years in newspapers he’d seen every variation on the crank letter, email and voice mail. And more conspiracy theories than cold beers. He point blank refused to blog or tweet about his column because of the loonies it encouraged. He hadn’t checked Facebook in months; just personal drivel and photos of smug couples claiming to have a good time. Fakes and flakes...

Coming soon…