Monday, December 30, 2019

Leighton, a personal remembrance

Annamaria on Monday

Tomorrow will be New Year's Eve, and I am here in Florence, thinking over the past year. My heart is full of nostalgia and also hope for the next year and the next decade.  Before we leave MIE's tenth anniversary year, I want to look back one more time on our founder.  I always think of him while I am here, and this blog begins with the picture we took on my terrace, an absolute favorite of the thousands - by now - of photos I have taken there.  It commemorates the one and only time that one of my best friends ever and I were together in the same place at the same time.  Some of us said some of what follows a few months ago, but I want to say my bit again.  So here is what I felt and wrote in July 2013 about him shortly after he died.  From my heart: now as then and forever.

At Bouchercon in Indianapolis in 2009, Leighton Gage moderated a panel called Murder  at the Edge of the Map.  The other writers on the dais included Yrsa and Stan.  Since my first novel, out just a month, was set not only far away, but long ago, I was anxious to hear what other, more experienced writers had to say on the subject of stories set in exotic locations.  The meeting room was packed with people.

Leighton showed the audience a bracelet he wore, made by Brazilian Indians, that was a charm to boost ones creativity.  I remember wishing I had such a thing, but I was too shy to introduce myself to Leighton, much less ask him where I could get one.  Had I been more courageous, I have no doubt he would have sent me one, if not taken his off and given it to me on the spot.  That was the kind of man he was: generous, giving, helpful, encouraging.  But I did not know that yet.

Several months later, out of the blue, an email from Leighton arrived in my inbox.  He had searched me out to tell me that he had read City of Silver as part of his service on the Edgar Awards jury for best first novel.  He had been disappointed that the book had not garnered a nomination, and he was talking it up on internet chat rooms because he knew how difficult it is to get a good book noticed.  He invited me here to Murder is Everywhere to do a guest post.  He stayed in touch, always encouraging, open, warm, and charming.

Then, one day, we found we would both be in Italy at the same time.  He came with his friend Jes to visit me in Florence.  We had two days to eat good food, drink good wine, and talk writing, books, the biz, life.  In those days, Leighton learned of my husbands Alzheimers disease.  One of the things I confessed to him was that my weekends were lonely, when I was caring for David on my own and when my husband of thirty-five years could no longer be a companion.  After that, on Fridays Leighton would write me an email posing a subject for discussion, usually one having to do with writing fiction.  Then, through the weekend, he would keep me company in long written conversations.

In the past few days, with comments here on MIE and on Facebook, it has become clear how many people Leighton befriended in just such ways.  Its impossible to fathom how he had the time to do all that while being a loving husband and father AND writing such wonderful booksone every year.

The people Leighton gathered around him are themselves a warm, welcoming, affectionate bunch.  They are generous and bring out the best in one another.  They are different from Leighton and from each other in many ways, but not in all the virtues one would desire in a colleague and friend.  He brought out in others what was wonderful in himself.  It seems a magic trick, but he performed it.  Then he gave us one another.

My gratitude and love and admiration are Leightons forever.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

LOOK BACK AND WONDER—News Stories of 2019 (Part 1)

Zoë Sharp

As this is my last MurderIsEverywhere blog of 2019, it seemed only right to look back at just a few of the oddball news stories that have caught my eye this year.


In January, it was announced that by the time the average child in the UK reaches the age of ten, they have eaten eighteen years’ worth of sugar. As part of the pre-Brexit preparations, the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, awarded a £13.8m contract for additional ferries to a start-up company that didn’t actually own any ships and had never operated such a service before.

A yacht called Wild Eyes, which was abandoned in the middle of the Indian Ocean in 2010 by teenager Abby Sunderland, who was attempting a round-the-world voyage, was spotted floating upside-down near the Australian coast after eight and a half years adrift. A beach in Ireland disappeared overnight. Two teenage Indian girls posed as boys for four years in order to keep their father’s barber’s shop going when he became too ill to work. They were honoured by the Indian government. The British intelligence service, MI5, was named among the best LGBT-inclusive employers by the equality charity, Stonewall.

Wild Eyes, floating off the Australian coast


The largest collection of protective symbols to ward off evil were found in a small cave in the East Midlands at Creswell Crags. Researchers discovered that the stripes on a zebra deter flies from landing on it. They experimented by dressing horses up in striped rugs. Numbers of Scottish Terriers—the most famous incarnation of which is possibly the piece in Monopoly—have fallen to an all-time low. Susan Rennie published a dictionary of author Roald Dahl’s most inventive expletives.

A Scottie dog


The rape prosecution rate in England and Wales fell to a five-year low. Scientists from the University of Stirling claim that plastic ‘nurdles’ washed up on Scottish beaches carry dangerous sewage pathogens, raising concerns that cholera could be carried this way from India to the USA. A ten-year-old girl, Sky Brown, is set to compete for Team GB at the 2020 summer Olympics in Skateboarding. Sky, born in Japan, will be twelve by the start of the games. She has been skateboarding since she was four. Climate change is melting glaciers to reveal the bodies of climbers who died attempting Mount Everest. NASA had to cancel a planned all-female spacewalk because they didn’t have enough spacesuits in the right size. And courts in the UK have been seeking translation services for teenage slang used in texts so they can be used in court.

Sky Brown, courtesy Bruce Adams, Daily Mail


A study showed that cats can actually recognise their names when you call them. They may still ignore you, however. Scientists have discovered that electrical brain impulses can temporarily improve memory capacity of older people. Half of the UK is owned by less than 1% of the population. The iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burns. A white beluga whale wearing a harness spotted by Norwegian fishermen was thought to be a Russian special ops experiment. An impaired sense of smell in later life is thought to be an early sign of dementia.

Russian-trained (allegedly) white beluga whale


Scrabble allowed the use of the word ‘OK’ as well as others such as ‘fleek’ and ‘bingeable’. Therapy dogs were introduced at Aberdeen Airport to help relieve travellers’ stress. An Anglo-Saxon burial chamber discovered in Southend-on-Sea yielded a host of treasures. A copy of DH Lawrence’s LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER used by a judge at the book’s 1960 obscenity trial, with the naughty bits carefully marked up, which was sold at auction to a foreign buyer, was prevented from leaving the UK.

Parts of an Anglo-Saxon drinking bottle and cup

Technology billionaire, Robert Smith, pledged to pay off the student debt of the entire 2019 graduating class at his alma mater, Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, at an estimated cost of $40m. An app called Digi Police allows commuters being groped on Japanese trains to ask for help silently. And fantasy writerTerry Pratchett predicted the rise of fake news back in 1995, according to his biographer, Marc Burrows.


walrus tusk chessman bought for £5 in 1964 turned out to be one of the Lewis chessmen and was valued at up to £1m. Japanese women submitted a #KuToo petition against being forced to wear high heels in the workplace. Detection rates in England and Wales fell by 28% after number of detectives dropped by more than 600 in nine years, study revealed.

Walrus-tusk Lewis chessman

Spanish statue that had been botch-restored was given the proper ageing restoration process. Record TV audiences watched England compete in the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals. And a certain Mr Boris Johnson promised that the UK would leave the EU on October 31, “do or die”. Hmm…

Statue of St George in Navarre, before, after, and after the after

The second half of the year next time. What have been your favourite quirky news stories of the past year?

This week’s Word of the Week is apotropaic, meaning supposedly having the power to avert evil influences, misfortune, or bad luck. From the Greek apo, meaning away, and tropos, to turn.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

No Gifts Please


Today’s the day folks. As the legendary Stanley Holloway once sang, “I’m getting married in the morning…” 

Actually the wedding is this afternoon, but in keeping with the premise of his tune, I’m surely marrying my fair lady.


Yes, Barbara is making an honest man of me.  It’s only taken her a decade, but while waiting for her to come around, I’ve come to be known as “that lucky guy with the wonderful Barbara (aka Photobomer).”

So true.

It will be a tiny, immediate family affair in Scottsdale, Arizona with proper homage paid to Greece, the land where we met and for which we share a deep love.  But there is another great love we share, one for all the many friends our being together has introduced into our lives. You’ve helped us do more than launch a new chapter in our lives; you’ve blessed us with an entire library filled with wonderful friends, glorious adventures, and joy.

Our love, good wishes, and thanks to each of you on this glorious day.

Plus, a very happy and healthy 2020.

—Jeff and Barbara


Jeff's 2020 Speaking Engagements and Signings (in formation):
Thursday, March 12-Sunday, March 15, 2020 
San Diego, CA
LEFT COAST CRIME—San Diego Marriott Mission Valley
Panels yet to be announced

Monday, March 16, 2020, 11AM-2PM
Saddlebrooke, Arizona 85739
30th Anniversary Authors Luncheon
SaddleBrooke Clubhouse
40010 S. Ridgeview Blvd.
Author Speaking and Signing

Thursday, June 4--Sunday, June 7, 2020
CRIMEFEST—Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel

Panels yet to be announced 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Pura Vida

This is the last blog of the year, a time to reflect.

A while ago I had one of those light bulb moments. A few strands of life, and death, had come together. An elderly old pal had passed away peacefully, a young friend ( 42) had been given a year to live... and died two weeks later. We had paid off the mortgage and I had just got some very good book news.  I was trudging up my stairs, passing the usual pile of junk mail at the bottom- that ever growing pile that nobody ever deals with. On the top was a brochure called  Bucket List Holidays, so I picked it up and carried on my way. It had been a long hard shift. The clinic had been questioning an outcome of a patient- something didn't fit - but the NHS moves slowly and all our ways and means of shifting it on ASAP had resulted in a treatable, but very nasty diagnosis. He's 22 and looking forward  to about 20 weeks of chemo. ( He's actually out the other side of that now  and doing well.) It had been a hard and frustrating day as I lay on the bed with dog and cup of tea, flicking through the brochure.

I have no wish to see the Great Wall Of China from a hot air balloon. ( Have you seen the slow time film on it? Fascinating! )

I have no wish for a gastronomic tour of the Far East for obvious reasons.

Machu Picchu? Maybe. But I'd like to walk in and walk out and no way was I fit enough for that.

I kept flicking pages over, and over until I got to the last page. A cruise up the Panama Canal- now that has been on Alan's bucket list for a while, and, being a Clydesider, the engineering aspect of it did appeal to me. That page was the second half of a holiday, so I looked over and there was a eco safari tour of Costa Rica.  We could book it  for a pound per person.

Hold my coat!

We got back just days before Christmas to three full days of work so here are some pics ( I have 6500) to keep you going... full blogs to follow...

Our route. 20 of us in a bus. Costa Rica has a mountain range in the middle with the kind of roads they make documentaries about. We crossed it many times. By day four the men were asking where the nearest pharmacy was and  what's Spanish for haemorrhoid. 

We saw lots of these, some 8 feet long.

Rare sighting of a Costa Rican haggis.

If you ever need the company of a female howler monkey, it's good to be able to imitate the call of a male howler monkey with a good credit rating.

One of  my favourite pics  of those I've had the chance to go through.

We were often up at 6am, or out looking at turtling hatchlings at midnight. As you can see from the pic, the accommodation was awful....

And the neighbours round the pool could be naughty.

The pacific coast of Costa Rica. It's a little smaller than Scotland with a proportionately smaller population. The wildlife is right up close though in Costa Rica. Here we have the sea, a beach and in the foreground a river- with crocodiles sunning themselves.

Cheeky Wee Monkey

These guys will nick suntan lotion and  smooth it all over themselves.

My best dolphin  shot I'm afraid.

An Englishman going snorkelling.  When he was born Clement Attlee was Prime Minister!

After the tour, we had the cruise. Big Boat!

This was taken in Grand Turk which is famous for selling diamonds and being where American astronauts are scooped out the sea on return to earth.

Skyline, Cartagena, Columbia.

The volcano in Costa Rica supplies ( very ) hot water to many spa resorts.

View from  one of many balconys.
Monteverdi, built by Quakers.

A wild one of these.

And in the middle of this picture is a sloth. He's on the central trunk, his head turned to the right. He has a dark stripe down his back and  buttocks like a Samoan prop forward. And yes, he's green, covered in the same moss as the tree.

Caro Ramsay 27 12 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Boxing Day

Stanley - Thursday

In several countries affiliated to the United Kingdom, the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day. It is also a public holiday, except if it falls on a weekend, in which case the following Monday is the public holiday.

There are two common stories about the origins of Boxing Day, which are quite similar. The explanation I grew up with was that in Britain servants were required to work on Christmas Day, to serve lavish feasts to their employers. The day after Christmas, they were allowed to go back to their families, taking with them a box of goodies from their employers, which would included gifts and often food left-overs.

The other explanation I heard was that people often gave a small gift of money - a tip, if you will - to those who provided a service, but were not employees. My parents would always give the garbage collectors and postman what was called a 'Christmas Box' as a token of their appreciation. I think the term stemmed from the first explanation. These days, in a country with high levels of poverty, everyone who provides a service may ask for a Christmas Box - parking-lot attendants, garage attendants, and so on. It can be a bit overwhelming, particularly when one reflects on the huge disparities of wealth that are so obvious.

As a child, I was not involved in in any of the traditions of giving something on Boxing Day. Nevertheless, I looked forward to the day with great anticipation, because there was usually a major cricket match at the Wanderers cricket ground in Johannesburg. The best were test matches - that is matches between South Africa and a touring team from another country. In those days, those teams would be from Australia, England, and New Zealand - only White players, please.

Wanderers cricket ground
 A typical day of a test match would start at eleven in the morning and go until one, when play would adjourn for lunch. After lunch, play resumed and proceeded for two hours until tea - a short break taken in the locker rooms. The day would end with a final two hours of play. This would be repeated for another four days. Yes, sir! Test matches last for five days of six hours a day.

No wussie gloves for cricketers
So, on Boxing Day, I and some friends would head off to the ground with 30,000 or so other spectators, carrying our own bats and balls to have our own test matches on the field during the lunch break.

We'd take our own bat and ball.

On Boxing Day, the stadium was always full.

Some started younger than me.
What was remarkable is that we would be held enthralled pretty much the whole time, even though were very young. The current ground was opened in 1956, and I can remember going to a test match at the old ground, when I was eight years old.

As for this year, I will wake up early today and indulge in some nostalgia by watching South Africa play England. The hype is still there, and thousands of kids will be saying 'I can't wait!'

I hope you had a fine Christmas holiday, and I wish you a healthy, happy, and calm New Year.

PS.  Just before I went to bed on Christmas night, I watched a bit of the Boxing Day match between Australia and New Zealand. It was being played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (the MCG) in front of 80,000 spectators.

Upcoming events

Hot and Cold Crimes - Sara Blaedel, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, and Michael Stanley (Stan Trollip)
January 5, 2020: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Hillerød Public Library, Hillerød, Denmark

For details, contact Nanna Bresson at

Wednesday, December 25, 2019


Kwei Quartey

Careen Chepchumba was a 26-year-old, vivacious young Kenyan who worked for Kenya Power in Nairobi. On Sunday, February 12, 2012, her brother Emmanuel Kiptoo dropped her off at her upscale apartment in Santonia Court, a gated community in the posh Kilimani neighborhood.

AFRICA'S GREATEST UNSOLVED MURDERS: Careen Chepchumba (Photo: The Star, Kenya)
Careen Chepchumba (Photo: The Star, Kenya)

On Monday, Emmanuel tried but failed to reach Careen by phone. One news account states that subsequently, "he [Emmanuel] said their mother asked him to drive her to his sister's apartment to check on her." That seems to imply that Emmanuel and his mother went to the apartment the same day, Monday the 13th, the day before Valentine's. Nevertheless, most accounts confirm that it was February 14th that the awful discovery was made.

There was no response to Emmanuel's knocking on Careen's apartment door. To his surprise, the door was open and so he entered, noticing two things: first that Careen's sandals were at the door, suggesting she was home, and second, two used wine glasses were in the kitchen sink as he went past. Music was playing, but Careen was in bed with her laptop at the bedside. Emmanuel said he thought "she was sleeping." (It seems odd that he wouldn't have checked to be sure she was okay, given an unlocked door, two wine glasses and so on. In that circumstance, many would have felt that something was not quite right.)

Emmanuel returned to the car, where his mother was waiting, and they went back to Careen's apartment together. Emmanuel's mother started opening some windows because the room was "stuffy," and then she went to Careen's bedroom, shortly after which Emmanuel heard his mother screaming as she realized Careen was dead. Her autopsy would show that "death was due to lack of oxygen due to manual strangulation." The pathologist reported that the force exerted on Careen's throat had caused hemorrhage from her eyes and into her neck muscles.

Who had motive?
In considering possible motive, attention turned immediately to a man called Louis Otieno. This was no ordinary guy. Otieno was one of Kenya Television Network's (KTN's) most successful and high-profile TV anchors, known for his eloquence and hard-hitting interviews.

AFRICA'S GREATEST UNSOLVED MURDERS: Louis Otieno (Photo: Daily Nation)
Louis Otieno (Photo: Phoebe Okall/ Nation Media Group)

However, a darker reputation haunted Otieno. Media reported his love of a lavish lifestyle with fancy cars, spending sprees, alcohol, and glamorous women. If this was the case, then it was a familiar story of becoming too rich, too young and foolishly squandering one's earnings. I wasn't able to put Otieno's meeting Careen on a timeline in relation to his financial woes, but certainly by late 2011, Otieno was in serious trouble and turned to Careen for help. To support him, she reportedly borrowed heavily from family and business partners to the tune of 4.2 million Kenyan shillings, about $42,000. Some of this money she obtained under pretext, suggesting Otieno was heavily pressuring her to obtain the cash.

What was all that money for? Answering that question was the purpose of Careen's father calling an "emergency" family meeting on Sunday February 12, 2012--perhaps a confrontation of sorts--in which Careen admitted to family that she had been paying Otieno's rent, medical bills, and his children's school fees. Otieno had two children from a first marriage. Careen was also paying for Otieno's expensive taste in cigars.

The February 12 meeting, at which a chastised Careen agreed to drastic measures to pay back the money she owed, must have marked the pinnacle of the crisis with Otieno, because the police reported that on February 6, Careen had written a note to her father expressing remorse for having entered into a relationship with Otieno. She also apparently wrote, or started to write, a note to her father on February 12, but for some reason, she tore it up and put it in her bedroom trash bin.
Was Careen a case of a young, smitten woman falling into a relationship with a celebrity only to realize, too late, that she was trapped in a hornets' nest with no escape? On occasion, she had denied being anything more than a "friend" of Otieno's, but her family and a close friend, Paul Ng'ang'a, stated that she was having a full-blown romantic relationship with him. Clearly, something went terribly wrong to the point that Careen, just before she was murdered, had been about to file an extortion claim with the police and get a restraining order for Otieno not to visit or call her. It had taken her a while to realize how much she had been used by Otieno, but she was seeing it now.

A bungled investigation
Clearly, Careen was pulling away from her lover just before her death. This could be the classic case of, "If I can't have you, no one else will," one of the strongest motives around for murder. The inquest into Careen's death was, incredibly, delayed for 4 years, and the case was still open and at an impasse as recently as 2018. At the inquest, the judge ruled that the police had bungled the case, making it impossible to arrest and convict anyone.

It appears that DNA testing of possible suspects was never done. The chief government pathologist thought Careen might have been sexually assaulted by the assailant. “We took samples for further analysis but I have never seen the report,” he said. The samples were supposedly handed over to the detectives at Kilimani Police Station, but no one seems to know what happened to the samples after that.

AFRICA'S GREATEST UNSOLVED MURDERS: The colorful Kilimani Police Station, slated to be replaced with a modern, larger facility (Photo: The Star, Kenya)
The colorful Kilimani Police Station, slated to be replaced with a more modern, larger facility (Photo: The Star, Kenya)

So, here are some of the major unanswered questions (there are probably many more):
  • What about the two wine glasses in Careen's kitchen sink? Glass is a gold mine for fingerprints and there might have been DNA as well.
  • Otieno's nail clippings were not tested for DNA. It turned out that the clippings obtained were Careen's and not Otieno's --a clerical error or mixup in the chain of custody, perhaps. Still, Careen's nail clippings could have been tested against samples from possible suspects with whom Careen might have struggled as she was being strangled.
  • Questioned, Careen's friend Mr. Ng'ang'a said Louis Otieno often "sneaked" into Careen's Santonia Court apartment. This corroborates what one of the security guards at the apartment complex reported. According to him, Careen had instructed him to give Louis Otieno unrestricted access to her.
  • A taxi driver called Samuel Gacheru was a kind of gofer for Careen. He sometimes took her shopping, and on other occasions he went to the airport to pick up packages for her, including Otieno's costly cigars. Careen owed Gacheru money as well! On February 14, he had texted Careen to remind her to pay up. The prosecutors alleged also that Gacheru made a 17-second call to Careen the day she was killed. All this is murky. What's the taxi driver's story? Did he have a crush on Careen? Was his alibi explored?

The decline, fall, and rise again of a celebrity?
Louis Otieno's glorious past is exactly that--past. It could be said that it began as a falling-out with the KTN editors and crew as Otieno became arrogant, egotistic, and short-tempered. But his fall became more precipitous once the scandal and murder of Careen Chepchumba broke. In 2014, Otieno was admitted to the hospital with acute pancreatitis, likely as a result of alcohol abuse. He subsequently lost his hearing, a rare complication of pancreatitis, as well as suffering a loss of balance and difficulty walking (ataxia). The medical details are complex and beyond our scope here. Otieno, all but penniless, crowdfunded enough money, about $40,000, for a cochlear implant. The surgery was performed in Nairobi in 2018 and appears to have been successful. Otieno's deafness had been a major cause of his depression. Will restoration of his hearing set him on a path to a reinvigorated life? We don't know, but meanwhile, Careen is still dead. What will happen to the investigation into her murder? We don't know that either, but the prospects do not look good.

(Author note: I have been unable to find any 2019 updates to this story, so I'd be glad to hear from anyone who has further information.)

Kwei Quartey

Monday, December 23, 2019

Taking Art to Florence

Annamaria on Monday

Bringing coals to Newcastle has nothing on what I did this past Friday/Saturday.  In my luggage were things to hang on my walls in Florence.  My place is so close to what is arguable the most splendid art museum in the world that--with a good arm--you could throw a Spaldeen from my terrace and hit the roof of the Uffizi Gallery.

My terrace.  Sloppy red arrow points at the roof of the Uffizi.
The Uffizi's walls boast these masterpieces, plus Leonardo's Annunciation, placed front and center in honor of the season:

By contrast, my place has images the monetary value of which might buy you a ticket to see the masterpieces across the piazza, and perhaps a gelato.  But I like them, mostly for sentimental reasons.

APOLOGY: My apartment has windows facing in all four directions.  It fills with sunshine on bright days like today.  So photographing images behind glass became more of a challenge the I was up to.  I fear in some instances I became my own photobomber.  

Hanging around me are--

Posters from exhibitions I have enjoyed:

Milan exhibition on the 100th anniversary of the death
of Garibaldi.
The Phoenicians, absolutely fascinating.  Changed my mind
about what they were all about.

Most people, if they know Dali at all, think of
 him as a nutcase.  He was a genius!

Modigliani! One can't praise him enough

And movie posters;

As COO of Davi's direct marketing company, I decorated the
walls of our office with posters of films having titles
with words relevant to his business.  My two favorites now
give a noir period touch to my living room in Italy.
David and I took our daughter to a screening of Abel Gance's
"Napoleon" at Radio City Music Hall after Coppola had it restored.
  His father wrote a new score for the film, which Papa Coppola conducted
that night. We went to dinner beforehand and ate beef Wellington.
  They served napoleons in the lobby at intermission!

And souvenirs of places visited.  Cuba, for example.

Some of David's photos of our travels here and there:

A collection that fits into two categories - an exhibition of Botero's sculptures, photographed by David:

A favorite of mine.  It looks as if the cat is
about to pounce on a passerby. 
How many angels can dance on the tip of a finger?

One of my favorites is self-portrait made by my granddaughter Emma when she was four years old. It knocked my socks off for its visual impact.

Some of my pictures I like just because I think they make the place look better:

What I had in my luggage this time around fits into this last category.  It is part of a collection of Hogarth and Cruickshank political cartoons that did not make onto my walls after I downsized in New York when David fell ill.  I brought four of them here last year and the two more fit into my luggage this time.

I thought I would be able to show you last year's and this year's haul all situated together.  Alas, the wall in question is an exterior one.  Tomorrow I will go to the mesticheria, a store that sells all sorts of things and get nails that will go into real plaster.  At least the English prints are now together again.