Book blurb; Kat and Mouse are back.
Church Deacon Kat and her friend Beth, known as Mouse, have started a private investigation business in the sleepy village of Eyam.
Kat, whose estranged criminal husband, Leon, is on the run, has a lot on her plate running the new business whilst heavily pregnant.
When a widow asks the sleuths for help, Kat and Mouse find themselves searching for the birth mother of the widow’s husband. But when it becomes clear that the widow isn’t telling the whole truth, Kat and Mouse are drawn into a deadly chase where nothing is what it seems.
Meanwhile, Kat’s husband has come back to Eyam and has Kat in his sights.
Can Kat and Mouse solve the case and escape the dangerous Leon?
This time they might just be out of their depth…
Book excerpt; Murder Unexpected!
The letter had a little heart drawn on the top. Kat read it for the second time with tears running down her face; her hormones were all over the place, aching for what the young sixteen-year-old had been forced to go through.
My darling boy, my Tommy,
I will always love you, and the pain I am feeling now is killing me. I cannot keep you, my parents cannot bear the shame. I haven’t told them who your father is, even though they have asked so many times, because I don’t know. I was attacked and beaten until I was unconscious, as I walked home from work.
I woke up in the hospital, and had to answer lots of questions but I couldn’t tell the police anything. I didn’t know the man who beat me. Four months later I found out I was pregnant.
I was sent to a mother and baby unit in Chesterfield before I started to show too much, and my parents told everybody I had gone to a cousin’s on the south coast to recuperate after the attack.
I had you, my darling son, and we were together for six weeks, then they took you one day.
I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye, and they made me write you a letter the next day before sending me home to my parents. They never saw you.
But I did, and I pray you will go to a good home, where they will love you as much as I do.
My love, my life, my precious child, my Tommy.
Always know it was not my wish that you be adopted. You are mine and always will be.
Beth put her arm around Kat’s shoulders and held her tightly. ‘Hey, come on. Maybe you shouldn’t be involved in this case, it’s a little close to home at the moment, isn’t it?’
‘They were such narrow-minded times,’ Doris joined in. ‘I remember them well.’
‘Lots of babies were adopted then?’ Mouse spoke with concern.
‘Definitely, although things were starting to change in the seventies, when Tommy was born.
I suspect Pamela’s parents couldn’t handle it because she had been raped. Maybe it would have been different for her if this was a child born of a love relationship and not a brutal one. If babies were conceived in the seventies, the parents of the baby tended to marry. It began to change in the eighties and nineties; marriage lost its popularity, women became more independent and brought babies up on their own, but of course the era that was really to blame for everything was the sixties.’ Doris sat back with a smile on her face.
‘They were good then, the sixties?’ Mouse asked. ‘You enjoyed them?’
‘Mouse, I lived them. Free love, drugs, you name it, it went on. The country had put World War Two behind it, and the post-war babies became teenagers. We thought we ruled the world. No, we knew we ruled the world. Wonderful, amazing years. We didn’t have freedom from parental authority, so we took it. It was the best time of my life, and remember we didn’t have technology, we had music, glorious music that can’t be matched today.’
Kat laughed. ‘Stop it, Nan, you’re making me jealous. Would you go back to those times, give up your technological expertise, your phone, your iPad?’ ‘In a heartbeat. I met my Harry in 1964 when I was just fourteen, and we married five years later. We danced the sixties away. The Beatles, the Stones, all the Liverpool groups, Rod Stewart, unbelievable music. And it’s all still played today.’
‘It wasn’t all about music though, surely?’ Mouse asked.
‘Course it was. It’s what we had. By the mid seventies we were starting to grow up, having families, colour televisions, it was a period of massive change. Which is why it’s so strange that Pamela was forced into giving up her baby. Times were becoming much more liberal, but clearly not liberal enough for this young woman’s parents.’
Kat stood. ‘I hear a baby.’ She headed upstairs, and they could hear her talking to Martha, via the baby monitor. She returned, cradling the baby in her arms.
‘Guess it’s feeding time. I’ll make her a bottle and then she can sleep in her pram.’
Half an hour later they were all rereading everything in the files. Pamela Farrar’s birth certificate showed that she had been born on the fifth of January 1960 in Grindleford, and as Doris filled them in more and more about life in the sixties and seventies, it became clear that although the bigger towns and cities embraced the new freedoms afforded by the end of the war, the small villages retained their insular complexities.
People began to move out to the cities where factories needed workers to rebuild the destruction caused by the war, leaving a hard core of villagers to manage their lives, reluctant to let the old ideas go.
And it seemed that Pamela Farrar had paid the price for the old-fashionedvalues of her parents.
Thomas Edward Farrar was born on the twenty-third of April 1976 in Chesterfield, and subsequently adopted on the seventh of June 1976 at Renishaw Magistrates Court. Margot and James Carpenter of Baslow, Derbyshire, were the adoptive parents, and until a couple of days prior, that was the end of the trail as far as the Connection Detective Agency was concerned.
Hey finished reading everything, then sat back and looked at each other.
‘So,’ Kat began, ‘the adoption pack told us very little. No father, but we know why anyway, and the last known place of residence for Pamela was Grindleford. We have an address there, but I’m presuming you’ve already checked this out online, Mouse?’ ‘Yes, a Mr and Mrs Palmer live there now.
However, next door at twelve Haddon Row is an elderly lady by the name of Joyce Graham who has lived there all her life. She’s eighty, so I don’t want to just turn up on her doorstep. I think we need to ring her and make an appointment. I’m sure she’ll know the family. She may have some snippets she can pass on to us.’
Doris made a note. ‘I’ll ring her if that becomes necessary. At eighty, I don’t really want to trouble her. Anything else we’ve gleaned from this first foray?’ ‘I think Alice Small loved Tom very much, but didn’t rate Judy at all.’ Mouse held her hand to her lips. ‘Oops, bear with me a minute.’ She stood and headed outside. They heard the slam of the car door, and she returned carrying a white carrier bag. She handed it to Kat.
‘This is from Alice. She apparently knows you, you take the service at her church occasionally, and she thinks you’re lovely. It’s something for Martha.’
Kat took the bag, and pulled out a pink-wrapped parcel. She carefully opened it to reveal an exquisite crocheted white coat and hat. ‘Oh my word. I must ring her. This is stunning, and I’m going to dress Martha in it when I take her to Mum’s tomorrow.’
Mouse put the paperwork back into the individual folders, and called a halt to work for the day.
‘I may go on the computer later,’ she said, ‘but officially we’re closed. Kat, get your feet up, get some rest. And let’s make sure all these doors are multi-locked and alarms primed.’
‘I’ll find us something to eat,’ Doris said. ‘Us working girls need to keep our strength up. But, Kat, please try to remember you’re on maternity leave.’
About the Author:
Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.
She has written and taught creative writing for most of her life, and at the age of sixty nine sent a manuscript to Bloodhound Books which was immediately accepted.
In total she has written seven psychological thrillers and one supernatural novel, and uses the areas of South Yorkshire and Derbyshire as her preferred locations in her books. Sheffield features prominently.
And now Anita is working on her first series, the Kat and Mouse trilogy, set in the beautiful Derbyshire village of Eyam. The first in the series, Murder Undeniable, launched 10 December 2018, and the second in the series, Murder Unexpected, launches 11 February 2019.
The trilogy has now been promoted to a quartet following the success of the first book; she is currently working on book three, Murder Unearthed. Book four doesn’t have a title, a plot, a first sentence… but she remains convinced it will have!
She is now seventy-three years of age, happily writing most days and would dearly love to plan a novel, but has accepted that isn’t the way of her mind. Every novel starts with a sentence and she waits to see where that sentence will take her, and her characters.
In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! The club was particularly helpful during the writing of 34 Days, as a couple of matches feature in the novel, along with Ross Wallace. Information was needed, and they provided it.
Her genre is murder – necessary murder.
Her genre is murder – necessary murder.