A black plastic bag found in a gas company trench and containing the skeleton of a Cavalier from the English Civil War is no more than a distraction from the daily grind for Chief Inspector Steve Winwood. But another skeleton discovered amongst the water pipes servicing the town square fountain means that a case of a villain’s disappearance from thirty years previous has to be re-opened.
Winwood was a fresh faced Detective Constable at the time who was assigned to a team to track down Ray Radford, the body under the fountain, suspected of the murder of his business partner John Kennedy.
The case led to suspicions of corruption within the local police force and the imprisonment of a Council official for accepting bribes. There was nothing proved at the time but the discovery of Radford means that the mistakes made thirty years ago by the police team have to be re-examined and old wounds re-opened.
Winwood has to revisit the past and try to uncover the truth behind a double murder. Many of the town’s workers lived in fear of Radford and few are willing to speak against him then and now.
The facts and evidence of the original investigation are re-examined, people still alive who remember the case re-interviewed and the past uncovered, despite the hurt it causes. Winwood is no closer to a solution and fears that his career and that of his superiors could be ended by the failures of the past and his inability to solve then now
The three hundred year old skeleton offers an unusual clue to the other two murders but not before another victim from the old days is attacked and left for dead.
About the Author
John Barber was born in London at the height of the UK Post War baby boom. The Education Act of 1944 saw great changes in the way the nation was taught; the main one being that all children stayed at school until the age of 15 (later increased to 16). For the first time working class children were able to reach higher levels of academic study and the opportunity to gain further educational qualifications at University. This explosion in education brought forth a new aspirational middle class; others remained true to their working class roots. The author belongs somewhere between the two. Many of the author’s main characters have their genesis in this educational revolution. Their dialogue though idiosyncratic can normally be understood but like all working class speech it is liberally sprinkled with strange boyhood phrases and a passing nod to cockney rhyming slang. John Barber’s novels are set in fictional English towns where sexual intrigue and political in-fighting is rife beneath a pleasant, small town veneer of respectability. They fall within the cozy, traditional British detective sections of mystery fiction. He has been writing professionally since 1996 when he began to contribute articles to magazines on social and local history. His first published book in 2002 was a non-fiction work entitled The Camden Town Murder which investigated a famous murder mystery of 1907 and names the killer. This is still available in softback and as an ebook, although not available from Smashwords John Barber had careers in Advertising, International Banking and the Wine Industry before becoming Town Centre Manager in his home town of Hertford. He is now retired and lives with his wife and two cats on an island in the middle of Hertford and spends his time between local community projects and writing further novels.