Murder in the Cards

Can a dead man play bridge?

Now also available in audiobook form from:

Number 2 in the SeeMs Detective Agency Mysteries

When the SeeMs Agency detectives play bridge online in 2020, they don’t expect their opponent to die during the game and yet a post-mortem the next day proves Brian Deliverer was dead halfway through the night.

Employed by Brian’s daughter Karen to investigate his death, the team are led back to a notorious 1920s murder and to a missing teenager from a Sussex village in the 1960s.

Should they tell his daughter the terrible truth behind her father’s death even if it costs her everything?

2020, Miranda, Cat and Stephy are employed to find out who killed her brother and why.


There is some Polari used in this book and although most of it is used in a context that should make it understandable, I have also compiled a glossary of terms. It is notable how many terms there were for policeman/policewoman/police station etc. There are also many different terms for body parts both male and female. A lot of Polari was applied with irony, such as That’s Your Actual French as a put down for those trying to appear sophisticated.

Almond rocks                                   socks

Aspro, aspra                                      prostitute

Aunt nell                                            1. Listen. 2. Ear

Aunt nelly fakes                                earrings

Auntie                                                older gay man

Barnet                                                hair

Barney                                               fight

Beak                                                   a judge

Betty bracelets                                  the police

Bevvy                                                  1. A drink 2. A public house

Bevvy omee                                       a drunkard

Bins                                                    spectacles

Bona                                                   good

Bona rack                                          a gay club with a good reputation

Bona vardering                                 looking good

Butch                                                  masculine (sometimes referring to women)

Cabouche                                           car

Camp                                                  funny, flamboyant

Camp name                                       an opposite-sex name given to a Polari speaker usually given to reflect an aspect of their personality, appearance or identity

Cark it                                                to die

Corybungus                                       bottom

Cottage                                               public lavatory or urinal

Cottaging                                           sex in public lavatories or hanging around there for sex

Diddle                                                gin

Diddle cove                                       barman or dispenser of gin

Dilly                                                    Piccadilly

Dilly boy                                            rent boy or male prostitute

Dizzy                                                  scatter-brained

Dog and bone                                    telephone

Dowry                                                a lot. The word can be used to upgrade any adjective

Drag                                                   principally to wear clothes from the opposite sex but also the clothes themselves and can refer to a state of being

Ecaf, eek                                            face

Fabulosa                                            wonderful

Fake riah                                           a wig

Farting crackers                               trousers

Fashioned riah                                 wig

Full eke                                              wearing make-up

Gloria                                                 God

Got your number                              1. Sussed you out 2. To identify someone as gay

Hearing cheat                                   ear

Hilda handcuffs                                the police

Jennifer justice                                 the police

Jubes                                                  breasts

Lady                                                   a gay man

Lallie                                                  leg

Lappers                                              hands

Letties                                                lodgings

Lily law                                              the police

Lily pad                                              police station

Mais oui                                             of course, see also your actual French

Matlock mender                               a dentist

Matlocks                                            teeth

Metzers                                              money

Meshingener                                     crazy

Metties                                               wealth

Minces                                               eyes

Molly                                                  gay man

Nada                                                   none

Nada in the vada                              nothing to see

Nanti dinarly                                    no money

Nanti polari                                       don’t speak

Nawks                                                bosom

Nelly                                                   feminine gay man

Nochy                                                 night

Ogale/ogle                                         eyes

Ogale fakes/ogle fakes                     spectacles

Ogle filters                                         sunglasses

Ogle riah/ogle riders                       eyelashes/eyebrows

Ogle riah fakes                                  false eyelashes

Omee-palone/homee-palone         a gay man

Omee/omi                                         a man

Onk                                                    nose

Opals                                                  eyes

Orderly                                              to leave or go

Orderly daughters                            the police

Palone-omee                                     a lesbian

Palone                                                a woman or girl

Parker                                                to pay

Parkering ninty                                wages

Plates                                                 feet ie plates of meat

Polari                                                 the gay language

Polari lobes                                       ears

Polari pipe                                         a telephone

Queer ken                                          prison

Quongs                                              testicles

Rattling cove                                     a taxi

Real girl                                             a biological female

Rent boy/renter                               male prostitute

Riah                                                    hair

Riah shusher                                     hair dresser

Rough trade                                      masculine, working-class partner

Savvy                                                  to know

Savvy?                                                Do you understand

Scharda                                              what a pity

Setter                                                 seven

Sharp/sharper                                  1. To steal. 2. A policeman

Sharping-omee                                 a policeman

She                                                     he, she, they, it

Sheesh                                               affected

Shush                                                 to steal

Shush bag                                          swag bag

Tat                                                      rubbish

Tea leaf                                              thief

That’s your actual French               phrase used to highlight that speak was trying to appear sophisticated by speaking French

Thumping cheat                               heart

Tober omee                              collector 2. Landlord

Tober showmen                                travelling musicians

Treash                                                term of endearment

Tres sheeshwahz                              very chic

Trundling cheat                                car

Vada/varda/varder                          to look

Vaf                                                      look at that wonderful thing

Vogue                                                 a cigarette or to light a cigarette

Vonka                                                 nose

Wallop                                               to dance

Willets                                                breasts

Winkle                                               small penis

Wonga                                                money from questionable sources

Yews                                                   eyes

Your actual                                        intensifying phrase. For example, your actual Australia

Zelda                                                  1. A woman 2. A witch

Zhoosh                                               1. Clothing 2. Trim or ornament

Zhooshy                                             showy as in Zhooshy tart (showing off woman)

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