Death's Dark Shadow--A novel of murder in 1970's Yorkshire

BOOK: Death's Dark Shadow--A novel of murder in 1970's Yorkshire
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Table of Contents

Cover

Recent Titles by Sally Spencer from Severn House

Title Page

Copyright

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Epilogue

Recent Titles by Sally Spencer from Severn House

THE BUTCHER BEYOND

DANGEROUS GAMES

THE DARK LADY

DEAD ON CUE

DEATH OF A CAVE DWELLER

DEATH OF AN INNOCENT

A DEATH LEFT HANGING

DEATH WATCH

DYING IN THE DARK

A DYING FALL

THE ENEMY WITHIN

FATAL QUEST

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

STONE KILLER

THE WITCH MAKER

The Monika Paniatowski Mysteries

THE DEAD HAND OF HISTORY

THE RING OF DEATH

ECHOES OF THE DEAD

BACKLASH

LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER

A WALK WITH THE DEAD

DEATH'S DARK SHADOW

DEATH'S DARK SHADOW
A DCI Paniatowski Mystery
Sally Spencer

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

9–15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.

First published in the USA 2014 by

SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS of

110 East : 59
th
Street, New York, N.Y. 10022.

eBook edition first published in 2014 by Severn House Digital
an imprint of Severn House Publishers Limited

Copyright © 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. – (A DCI Monika Paniatowski mystery; 6)

1. Paniatowski, Monika (Fictitious character)–Fiction.

2. Police–England–Fiction. 3. Murder–Investigation–

Fiction. 4. Detective and mystery stories.

I. Title II. Series

823.9'2-dc23

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.

I
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.

ONE

I
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.

‘I'd rather work in there than in my bedroom,' she'd explained to Monika. ‘The study's got a more businesslike atmosphere – and since I'm in the “business” of passing exams, it's ideal for my purposes.'

‘Of course it is, sweetheart,' Monika had agreed, doing her best to hide her smile.

‘Besides,' the girl had continued, ‘even when you're home, you're always working …'

‘Not always!' Monika had protested.

‘No, not always,' Louisa conceded, trying to be fair, ‘but certainly a good deal of the time.'

‘True,' Paniatowski accepted.

‘So it would be nice, wouldn't it, if we were working together?'

‘Yes, 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.

‘Who are you writing to?' she asked.

‘Tía Pilar.'

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 – who'd been running it at the time – 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.

‘I've been looking at the map of Spain,' Paniatowski said tentatively, ‘and it seems your great-aunt lives just outside Calpe, not far from where your Uncle Charlie and Auntie Joan live.'

‘I know,' Louisa agreed.

‘And your Uncle Charlie is always asking us to go and stay with them,' Paniatowski said, in a rush. ‘So I was thinking … 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 – ‘your grandmother's family', not ‘your 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 – and even found herself missing her sometimes – there was no question about who her actual mum was.

So Monika was right to phrase it like that – but even so, Louisa couldn't help wishing that her mum was confident enough of their relationship to say something like ‘your natural mother'.

‘Would you like that?' Paniatowski asked.

Louisa wasn't sure. Writing to them was really nice – but meeting them seemed a rather daunting prospect.

‘Would you like to do it, Mum?' she countered, to buy herself time.

‘Yes,' Paniatowski said. ‘I 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 – which was so different to her familiar English heritage – that frightened her.

‘Suppose we
didn't
go to Spain over half-term,' the girl said. ‘What would we do instead?'

‘Oh, I suppose we could go somewhere else,' Paniatowski said vaguely.

It wouldn't work out like that at all, Louisa told herself – 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 – 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 – 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.

‘Yes, I'd really like to go to Spain,' she said.

The office – which in its previous incarnation had been a bar's storeroom, and still looked like one – 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 Oídos

Agencia de detectives

And underneath, in much smaller letters, were the words, ‘Eyes and Ears Detective Agency'.

The two owners of the agency – Paco Ruiz and Charlie Woodend – 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 – having only lived on Costa Blanca for a year and a half – 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.

‘Sr Garcia says that he mainly sells hi-fi systems and tape decks,' Ruiz was explaining.

‘That'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. ‘Yes, that would be like gramophones,' he agreed. ‘Sr 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.'

‘So what's his problem?' Woodend asked.

‘He's losing a great deal of stock, and he has no idea how that's happening,' Paco said. ‘His storeroom is at the back of his shop. The only door to the storeroom – which is made of solid steel – is through the shop itself, and he swears that he would know if the lock had been tampered with.'

‘Is there a window in the storeroom?'

Ruiz consulted the client.

‘He says that there is a window, but it is a very small one, and there are bars on it.'

‘Who locks up at the end of the day?'

Ruiz spoke to the client again.

‘He says he always does it himself.'

‘And does anybody else have a key?'

‘During the working day, the manager, Luis Ibañez, has one, but he hands it back to Sr Garcia when the shop closes.'

‘Interesting,' Woodend mused. ‘We'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.'

‘Well, that's it then,' Paniatowski called from the kitchen to Louisa, who was in the dining room, laying the table for tea.

‘That's what?' her daughter asked.

‘That'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 – he's out on a case, apparently – but your Auntie Joan said they'd both be delighted to put us up for a few days.'

Louisa felt her stomach tighten. ‘Are 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.

‘You're not listening, Louisa,' Paniatowski said. ‘All the arrangements have been made – I've rung the travel agency and booked the flights.'

BOOK: Death's Dark Shadow--A novel of murder in 1970's Yorkshire
11.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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