Simon Parke

A (Very) Public School Murder

‘Excellence by the Sea’ is the strap line in Stormhaven Towers school’s publicity, but when, at the end of the summer term, the hard-drinking, hard-smoking new Headmaster, Jamie King, is found dead at the bottom of the town’s famous white cliffs, this excellence comes under savage scrutiny. Suicide is assumed at first – King wouldn’t be the first tormented soul to hit those unforgiving rocks. But unanswered questions remain. Forensics find no phone by the body and the head always had his mobile with him: ‘I wouldn’t want to be out when Eton ring!’ he used to joke. Then there is a second death at the school. With the pursuit of excellence exchanged for the pursuit of a killer who is both clever and efficient, the long dark corridors of Stormhaven Towers become an education in fear. Who will be next? Leading the investigation is the attractive and ambitious Inspector Tamsin Shah, accompanied, rather unexpectedly, by Abbot Peter, recently retired from the deserts of Middle Egypt. Known locally as ‘the odd couple’, they have worked on cases together before – surprising though that the Abbot should wish to become involved again. The ruthless Shah has brought danger to his seaside door, and through events at Stormhaven Towers, will do so again. Reviews of previous Abbot Peter mysteries, A Director’s Cut (2014), A Psychiatrist Screams (2013) and A Vicar Crucified (2013, all DLT): ‘A nicely plotted, swiftly paced yarn, full of teases . .. Parke evokes the creepiness of the setting marvellously. He has a stunning ear for the way people actually speak, with pages of uninterrupted dialogue flashing by with the speed of a radio play.’ Church Times ‘Highly original . . . very different from most detective stories.’ Clerical Detectives ‘An engrossing page-turning thriller, propelling the reader through its multiple twists and turns and keeping one guessing until the final unpredictable – yet satisfying – denouement.’ Irish Independent
268 printed pages
Original publication

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