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Published by Joffe Books, 3
September 2019. ISBN: 978-1-78391-170-9 (PB)
Someone is targeting with lethal intent members of the
Norfolk Festival Orchestra, a group of skilled classical musicians, some with
professional experience, others not. But who could wish to harm any of these
people who are partaking in such an apparently harmless activity which gives so
much pleasure to the inhabitants of Norwich and its environs? And why?
The first Detective
Inspector Sam Clayton is aware of this is, when out with his girlfriend Melissa
one Sunday afternoon, he is summoned by his boss, Detective Chief Inspector
Bligh, and told to go to a house in a village, Costessey, near Norwich where
the body of a dead woman has been found. She is Kristina Manning, a cellist
with the NFO who also worked as a music therapist at the local hospital, and
she has been stabbed in the stomach by the spike of her own cello. But who
could want to kill such a beautiful and talented young woman? The night before
she died she had given a party; most of the guests, apart from her boyfriend,
Nigel Henderson, an accountant, had been members of the orchestra and it is
among them that Clayton and his sergeant, Julie Everett, begin to make
enquiries among members of the orchestra.
They start with the
conductor Massimo Romano but he has only been in that position for a couple of
months and can tell them very little. The previous conductor, Michael Proctor,
had been forced out by members of the orchestra because he had fired two orchestra
members, it was felt unjustly, and this had created resentment. Proctor can’t
give Clayton and Julie much useful information, except that it is clear that
relationships among orchestra members were rather tense and there was at least
some drug use. But then Proctor is attacked and nearly killed, and it appears
that the opioid tramadol had been administered – it seems by force by two
masked men. And the post-mortem on Kristina’s body reveals that she had taken a
Class A drug on the night she died although her boyfriend had insisted that she
was not a user. Then some of the orchestra members raise doubts about the death
of another member, a trumpeter, some weeks ago. And then a violinist is found
strangled with a violin string, and one of the orchestra members who had been
fired has disappeared.
How many other
orchestra members are at risk, even Clayton’s girlfriend Melissa who is a
member of the orchestra choir? Clayton, himself a music lover and a guitar
player, and Julie find themselves enmeshed in a web of drug dealing and
Penkethis an author and
journalist based in Paris. She is originally from Lancashire but has worked all
over the world as a foreign correspondent. Her first crime novel, Murder on
the Marsh, was published in 2016.Her
latest crime novel, Play Dead, is the third in a series of murder
mysteries set in Norfolk and featuring DI Sam Clayton. In 2017 she wrote a one-woman
show, Sugar Baby, which was performed on the Edinburgh Fringe.
born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven
years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice.
Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional
work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of
her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published
late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal
flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a
third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology –
and is now concentrating on her own writing.