As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by The Book Guild,
28 January 2020. ISBN: 978-1913208 13-4 (PB)
Twelve years ago,
three evil men – Harry Sherwood, Jason Duckett, William Harrison - prowled the
streets of London. They were looking for girls, for the most part alone and
vulnerable, to take part in their violent sex games. They had recruited one of
those girls, Mo Salter, to assist them in this task; it was her job to lure the
girls into the apparent safety of a luxury car, and by the time the girls realised
the car was in fact a trap it was too late. None of the girls was under the age
of consent so no criminal offence had been committed, but then one of the games
had gone too far and, panic-stricken, one of the men, unsuccessful antiques
dealer, William Harrison, had telephoned Sherwood, a rich businessman.
It was that telephone
call that caused Sherwoood’s wife, Rosemary, to flee her violent and abusive
husband. She dared not even take their son Tom because Sherwood has issued
threats against him to ensure Rosemary’s silence; Sherwood dumps Tom on
Rosemary’s sister May to bring up. Rosemary has told May what she knows of her
husband’s activities but, to ensure Tom’s safety, has sworn May to secrecy.
Now, Harrison is
dying and Tom, who cannot forgive his father for his violence towards him and
his mother as a child, and is angry with his mother for having, as he thinks,
abandoned him to his abusive father, returns to England. And when his father
dies, Rosemary returns from France, where she had sought to make a new life,
for the funeral. Tom urgently wants her to tell him just what it was that had
driven her from England but she dare not tell him the full story because
Sherwood’s other two associates are still alive, and one in particular, Jason
Duckett, is a criminal with a host of connections into the underworld. But Tom
is determined to find the truth about his father so he recruits Daniel
Appleman, formerly a Detective Chief Inspector in the county force, now a duly
licensed private detective, to find out what he can. At first Daniel finds
there is very little to go on, even with the help of his assistant, Jane
Andrews, also a former police officer, but gradually he begins to get, if not
to the truth, at least to somewhere closer to the truth. Daniel works with Tom
and also the woman Tom is falling in love with, Carol. But Duckett is also
aware that Daniel is on the case; he has a great deal to lose and his need to
eliminate not only Rosemary but anyone else who might come near the truth –
May, Tom, Daniel, even Carol who has a connection with Duckett of which she had
been previously unaware, and others – overrides everything else. And he has the
connections to deal with anyone who could be considered a threat.
Pakenham is part of a prolific literary
Irish family, some of whom still live in Southern Ireland. His great
grandfather commanded the British forces at the battle of New Orleans and his
grandfather played a prominent role in Northern Ireland politics. Born in
Belfast, Michael’s family moved to America after his father was killed at
Dunkirk. After the Second World War the family returned to England and moved to
Hampshire; they were never to return to Ireland. Michael has lived in Hampshire
ever since, first farming and then starting to write in 1990. He has three children
and is married to Jeannie Pakenham a watercolour artist.
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.