Today it’s my turn to be on the blog tour for The Death Chamber by Lesley Thomson. This book is a fantastic eery crime thriller that you won’t be disappointed with.
I have an extract to share with you today, but first here is a little about the book.
Queen’s Jubilee, 1977: Cassie Baker sees her boyfriend kissing another girl at the village disco. Upset, she heads home alone and is never seen again.
Millennium Eve, 1999: DCI Paul Mercer finds Cassie’s remains in a field. Now he must prove the man who led him there is guilty.
When Mercer’s daughter asks Stella Darnell for help solving the murder, Stella see echoes of herself. Another detective’s daughter.
With her sidekick sleuth, Jack, Stella moves to Winchcombe, where DCI Mercer and his prime suspect have been playing cat and mouse for the past eighteen years..
Available from Amazon.
‘Read this.’ Stella handed everyone a sheet of paper.
It was an article from the Gloucestershire Echo dated January 2000. Jackie should have expected that; ever thorough, Stella had done research. In the ensuing quiet as they read, Jackie heard traffic on Shepherd’s Bush roundabout. The familiar grinding of engines and bursts of horns didn’t reassure her. Since last evening, Jackie had been propelled into a nightmare.
MAN LEADS POLICE TO BODY
When detectives picked up taxi driver Charles Brice on suspicion of kidnapping Abbey National teller Bryony Motson, he denied kidnapping the missing girl. Instead, he took Paul Mercer – the officer leading Bryony’s disappearance – to Belas Knap, a Neolithic burial chamber above Winchcombe. Mercer expected to find the girl – an attractive eighteen-year-old – alive. But when they moved a rock from an entrance into the ancient long barrow they discovered the skeleton of an adult female. Through recent dental work, police have identified Cassandra Baker, an eighteen-year-old girl last seen in 1977. Trudy and Ralph Baker believed that their daughter had run away to London. Although in over two decades they had heard nothing from Cassie, they supposed her married with children. On two occasions the family were told of vague sightings of Cassie. An old school friend had spotted Cassie in London’s Carnaby Street, someone else told Trudy she’d seen a ‘spit of her’ on a beach in Lanzarote. It turns out that Cassie Baker never left Winchcombe. Charles Brice has been arrested for the murders of Cassie and of Bryony Motson. Bryony’s body has
not been found.
‘A few steps up from stealing footwear!’ Jack breathed. ‘It’s a total change of MO.’
Jackie wanted to agree. ‘Brice insisted he’d been told about Cassie’s body by a drunk taxi passenger weeks earlier. Matthew Craven, an estate agent, lived in Winchcombe. He was flash with money and full of himself. Charlie Brice hadn’t believed him, he’d been more concerned Craven would throw up on the seat. When Paul Mercer accused Charlie of kidnap, he remembered what Craven had said and, as he put it, “tried to get Mercer off my back”.’ Jackie flourished the article. ‘Brice led Mercer to Belas Knap.’
‘Knowing where a body’s buried is an indication of guilt. Odd ploy to choose to convince Mercer he was innocent,’ Jack said.
‘Mercer was convinced he’d landed a serial killer. Charlie had murdered Bryony Motson and Cassie Baker. “Like all his Christmases had come at once,” Lisa Mercer told me. However, after twenty years, forensics could only confirm that Baker’s DNA matched her family. With no other clues, like Bev said, it was circumstantial. Mercer had to let Brice go,’ Jackie said.
Jack rested his chin in a cupped hand. ‘Did Craven admit he’d confessed to Brice in his cab? It was one man’s word against
Stella chimed in. ‘Matthew Craven had been Cassie’s boyfriend until they split up weeks before she vanished. He admitted to hiding her body in the mound. He also confessed he’d put a small stone with a hole in it beside her body. Craven said it was
a Neolithic custom to keep Cassie safe on her next journey.’ Stella paused at the obvious irony. ‘Craven never actually confessed to murder. Craven’s new girlfriend – Lauren Spicer – had claimed he was with her at the Jubilee disco when Cassie disappeared. When Craven told police about the stone, Spicer withdrew her alibi. She’d covered for him because she’d believed him innocent.’ Stella was up on the facts, Jackie observed.
‘Basically nothing linked Brice to Cassie Baker’s murder except his taking Mercer to the disposal site.’ Jack sat back in his chair. ‘Circumstantial or not, I’m tempted to go with Mercer’s view. He is the obvious suspect for both murders.’
‘Craven was found guilty and sentenced to life-imprisonment.’ Stella drew a line in her notes. ‘Charles Brice was never tried and is free to this day.’
‘That means Brice could have murdered more victims in between Bryony Motson in 1999 and Cassie Baker in 1977!’ Beverley whirled around from her heavily populated timeline.
There was silence as the team digested this possibility.
‘Not if he’s innocent,’ Jackie maintained. ‘Paul Mercer is certain that they put away the wrong man. In his mind, if Craven was involved at all, he was the accomplice. Charlie killed Baker and framed Craven.’ Jackie swilled back her coffee. It was cold, she didn’t care.
Here are the other lovely bloggers on the tour. They have a selection of reviews, extracts, Q & A’s and giveaways, so it’s worth while popping over and checking out their posts.
Head of Zeus the publishers of The Death Chamber have kindly given me a copy to giveaway. To enter all you have to to do is fill in the Gleam widget below. Remember the more entries you complete the higher the chance you have of winning.
*Terms and Conditions – There is one copy of The Death Chamber to giveaway. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered. The winner will be selected at random via Gleam from all valid entries and be notified by Twitter and/or email. The winner will have 28 days to respond with a name and address for shipping before a new winner is selected. Open to all UK entrants aged 18 or over only. Facebook and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to Head of Zeus publishers and used only for fulfillment of the prize.
You can find other competitions over on the competition page.
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you have enjoyed this post.
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