Authors: Sally Spencer
Table of Contents
THE BUTCHER BEYOND
THE DARK LADY
DEAD ON CUE
DEATH OF A CAVE DWELLER
DEATH OF AN INNOCENT
A DEATH LEFT HANGING
DYING IN THE DARK
A DYING FALL
THE ENEMY WITHIN
THE GOLDEN MILE TO MURDER
A LONG TIME DEAD
MURDER AT SWANN'S LAKE
THE PARADISE JOB
THE RED HERRING
THE SALTON KILLINGS
SINS OF THE FATHERS
THE WITCH MAKER
THE DEAD HAND OF HISTORY
THE RING OF DEATH
ECHOES OF THE DEAD
LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER
A WALK WITH THE DEAD
DEATH'S DARK SHADOW
This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
First published in Great Britain 2013 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
9â15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.
First published in the USA 2014 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS of
110 East : 59
Street, New York, N.Y. 10022.
eBook edition first published in 2014 by Severn House Digital
an imprint of Severn House Publishers Limited
Copyright Â© 2013 by Sally Spencer.
The right of Sally Spencer to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Spencer, Sally author.
Death's Dark Shadow: a novel of murder in 1970's
Yorkshire. â (A DCI Monika Paniatowski mystery; 6)
1. Paniatowski, Monika (Fictitious character)âFiction.
2. PoliceâEnglandâFiction. 3. MurderâInvestigationâ
Fiction. 4. Detective and mystery stories.
I. Title II. Series
ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-8347-6 (cased)
ISBN-13: 978-1-78010-488-1 (ePub)
Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.
This ebook produced by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited,
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
n later years, when Detective Chief Inspector Monika Paniatowski thought about the two particularly brutal killings she'd investigated in Whitebridge, back in November 1975, she would never fail to reflect that, but for a seemingly innocuous suggestion she'd made to her adopted daughter, Louisa, there would have been no murders to investigate.
t was a Saturday morning in late October. At one end of the back parlour-study, Monika Paniatowski was sitting at her desk and attempting to scale the mountain of paperwork she had allowed to build up. At the other end, her adopted daughter, Louisa, was sitting at her desk and wrestling with French irregular verbs.
The arrangement had been Louisa's idea.
âI'd rather work in there than in my bedroom,' she'd explained to Monika. âThe study's got a more businesslike atmosphere â and since I'm in the “business” of passing exams, it's ideal for my purposes.'
âOf course it is, sweetheart,' Monika had agreed, doing her best to hide her smile.
âBesides,' the girl had continued, âeven when you're home, you're always working â¦'
âNot always!' Monika had protested.
âNo, not always,' Louisa conceded, trying to be fair, âbut certainly a good deal of the time.'
âTrue,' Paniatowski accepted.
âSo it would be nice, wouldn't it, if we were working together?'
âYes, it would.'
And it was nice, Paniatowski thought, as she watched Louisa put her French book to one side, and reach for her writing pad.
âWho are you writing to?' she asked.
A couple of years earlier, Louisa hadn't even known she had an Auntie Pilar, but then she'd joined the Whitebridge Hispanic Circle, and Robert Martinez â who'd been running it at the time â had suggested she trace her Spanish relatives, if only as a way of improving her own Spanish. The idea had been a great success, and now Louisa wrote regularly to her great-aunt, as well to several cousins of her own age.
âI've been looking at the map of Spain,' Paniatowski said tentatively, âand it seems your great-aunt lives just outside Calpe, not far from where your Uncle Charlie and Auntie Joan live.'
âI know,' Louisa agreed.
âAnd your Uncle Charlie is always asking us to go and stay with them,' Paniatowski said, in a rush. âSo I was thinking â¦ you've got a half-term holiday coming up, and I've got some leave owing which they're pressuring me to take soon, so why don't we go and stay with Uncle Charlie, and you can meet all your grandmother's family?'
Louisa noted her choice of words â âyour grandmother's family', not âyour mother's family'. And she was right, of course, because while Louisa had no doubt that the person who had given birth to her had been a wonderful woman â and even found herself missing her sometimes â there was no question about who her actual mum was.
So Monika was right to phrase it like that â but even so, Louisa couldn't help wishing that her mum was confident enough of their relationship to say something like âyour natural mother'.
âWould you like that?' Paniatowski asked.
Louisa wasn't sure. Writing to them was really nice â but meeting them seemed a rather daunting prospect.
âWould you like to do it, Mum?' she countered, to buy herself time.
âYes,' Paniatowski said. âI do miss seeing Charlie now he's retired, and I think it would be very good for you to get to know a little something about your Spanish heritage.'
Which was all well and good in theory, Louisa thought, but it was precisely her largely unknown Spanish heritage â which was so different to her familiar English heritage â that frightened her.
go to Spain over half-term,' the girl said. âWhat would we do instead?'
âOh, I suppose we could go somewhere else,' Paniatowski said vaguely.
It wouldn't work out like that at all, Louisa told herself â because even though her mum so desperately needed a break, some problem with the Mid-Lancs Constabulary would get in the way, as it usually did, and whatever plans they'd made would be cancelled. But she couldn't cancel Spain â not if she'd already promised Uncle Charlie and Auntie Pilar that they were going.
It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done, Louisa thought, quoting one of Uncle Charlie's favourite books.
Indeed, the thought of going to Spain was not dissimilar to the thought of climbing the steps to the guillotine â and just as Sydney Carton had done the latter for his love of Lucie, so she would do the former for the love of her mum.
âYes, I'd really like to go to Spain,' she said.
The office â which in its previous incarnation had been a bar's storeroom, and still looked like one â could only be entered through a door which opened on to an alley, but the splendid brass plate on the door would not have looked out of place on a much grander entrance.
The plate read:
Ojos y OÃdos
Agencia de detectives
And underneath, in much smaller letters, were the words, âEyes and Ears Detective Agency'.
The two owners of the agency â Paco Ruiz and Charlie Woodend â had chosen the name because they'd thought it would sound intriguing, but it was also a reflection of their division of labour, since Paco's eyes were not quite as sharp as they had once been, and Charlie â having only lived on Costa Blanca for a year and a half â had not yet mastered enough of the language to be able to conduct independent interviews in Spanish.
Business at the agency had been quiet for a while, but that morning they had a new client, a sharply dressed man of around forty-five.
âSr Garcia says that he mainly sells hi-fi systems and tape decks,' Ruiz was explaining.
âThat'd be like gramophones, would it?' asked Woodend, who tried his best to be forward looking, but was still in mourning over the virtual demise of the steam locomotive.
Paco grinned. âYes, that would be like gramophones,' he agreed. âSr Garcia says that, over the last few years, the business has grown and grown. This is partly because the government has become more relaxed about what can be imported into Spain, and partly because, with the increased tourist trade, the locals now have more money to spend.'
âSo what's his problem?' Woodend asked.
âHe's losing a great deal of stock, and he has no idea how that's happening,' Paco said. âHis storeroom is at the back of his shop. The only door to the storeroom â which is made of solid steel â is through the shop itself, and he swears that he would know if the lock had been tampered with.'
âIs there a window in the storeroom?'
Ruiz consulted the client.
âHe says that there is a window, but it is a very small one, and there are bars on it.'
âWho locks up at the end of the day?'
Ruiz spoke to the client again.
âHe says he always does it himself.'
âAnd does anybody else have a key?'
âDuring the working day, the manager, Luis IbaÃ±ez, has one, but he hands it back to Sr Garcia when the shop closes.'
âInteresting,' Woodend mused. âWe'll need to look at the scene of the crime, of course, but I think it might be wise to wait until all the assistants have gone home for the day.'
âWell, that's it then,' Paniatowski called from the kitchen to Louisa, who was in the dining room, laying the table for tea.
âThat's what?' her daughter asked.
âThat's all the arrangements made for our trip to Spain. The first thing I did was to ring the Woodends. Your Uncle Charlie wasn't there â he's out on a case, apparently â but your Auntie Joan said they'd both be delighted to put us up for a few days.'
Louisa felt her stomach tighten. âAre you sure you don't want a bit more time to think about it, Mum?' she asked, laying the knife and fork, with geometric precision, each side of her mother's plate.
âYou're not listening, Louisa,' Paniatowski said. âAll the arrangements have been made â I've rung the travel agency and booked the flights.'