Thursday, 1 October 2020

Just for Graham. DCI Buchanan 5 The Missing Heiress opening pages

 


1

Hands

Detective Chief Inspector Buchanan rolled over and looked at the clock on the bedside table, six o’clock. He yawned, pushed the covers back and sat up. ‘You know something Karen?’

Karen, his wife, opened one eye and squinted at the daylight coming through the bedroom window and said.  ‘I know if you are going to get up this early and wake me, you can at least bring me a coffee.’

‘I can do one better than that, I’ll make us breakfast, what would you like?’

‘I’m too tired to think, surprise me.’

‘It was a morning like this when we moved into our house in Glasgow,’ said Buchanan. ‘I remember it as though it was yesterday?’

‘Hmm. I remember the day well, our first house as a married couple’ said Karen as she mopped up the last of her poached egg.

‘Was it really thirty-four years ago?’

‘No, it was thirty-five – You know, if we’d had children, they’d be having their own children by now.’

Buchanan put down his cup and looked at Karen. ‘I know that, and it’s not for the want of trying, it’s just the hand fate has dealt us. But we do have Jill, and I can’t imagine anyone being more like a daughter than she has been. Don’t forget, like us not having children, she has no parents, we’re sort of made for each other.’

‘You are so right my dear, as usual you have just the right words.’

‘Hmm, far too nice a day to work,’ said Buchanan looking out the conservatory window.

‘Don’t go in then. Take the day off. We could take a trip into town.’

‘Town – where to, exactly?’

‘Nowhere in particular. I thought we could just wander.’

‘I’m not taking the day off in order to go window shopping.’

‘Jack, come sit down and have another coffee, you’re making me tired just watching you pace the floor.’

‘I shall be late for work. However, you’re quite right, I suppose being a senior policeman has certain privileges; I’m entitled to another cup of coffee; I’m entitled to occasionally be late for work.’

‘You know we could have many more of these breakfasts together if you weren’t working,’ said Karen as she spread honey on her toast.

Buchanan put down his cup, ‘yes we could, but –’

‘But you’re not ready to retire, am I right?’ she said smiling at him.

He smiled back and pulled a grape from the bunch in the fruit bowl.

‘I was in town yesterday,’ she continued. ‘I went into Closs and Hamblin fabrics to look at material for the spare room curtains.’

‘Did you find what you were looking for?’

‘No, that’s one of the reasons I wanted you to come with me, I need your opinion.’

He shook his head, looked at the time display on his phone, ‘I really should go to work my dear.’

‘But you’re in charge, you deserve to be late occasionally.’

He grinned, ‘You’re quite right, I do deserve to be a little late occasionally. I can be on time tomorrow, would you pour me another coffee, please.’

Buchanan drove into the car park at Hammonds Drive police station and parked beside an empty slot usually occupied by DS Street’s car. He looked at the time and smiled, he was exactly two hours late; the benefits of being a senior policeman. He was puzzled though, Street was usually in the office before this, where was she?

As he walked past the reception desk he asked, ‘anyone heard from DS Street, I mean Hunter, this morning?’

The duty sergeant shook her head and said, ‘Sorry Jack, no.’

It was funny he thought as he walked down the corridor, just how one gets used to the norm and find it difficult to change. Jill Street, his partner had been married to constable Stephen Hunter for almost a year now, and Buchanan still couldn’t get used to her new surname. But since she was known to everyone as DS Jill Street, and after discussing it with her husband, she’d decided she would continue with the Street surname, and besides in her mind she was still fifty percent of the Buchanan and Street combination.

He pushed his office door open with his foot, walked into his office and placed his coffee and slice of banana bread on his desk. Like so many times previous, he took off his jacket, hung it on the back of his chair then sat down at his desk to read his copy of the Eastbourne Herald.

The article on county lines gangs moving out of major cities and into local towns, and about how vulnerable people and young children were being sucked into the mess had him grinding his teeth. At least some of these county lines gangs’ plans had been thwarted. The previous week he’d been to a press conference where he had been informed that during the previous six months, eighty-seven county lines gangs had had their plans foiled, and that had led to 133 arrests. He smiled to himself when he thought about the government’s plans to substantially increase police numbers, plus provide an additional ten thousand prison places. He put down the paper thinking that it might be time to bring back national service.

There were at least two real successes for the police, all be it for the National Crime Agency. The two men who had been arrested for making untraceable firearms in a unit on Diplocks Way Hailsham, had been found guilty. In the old days they’d be in for twenty years at least and spend them sewing mailbags as a punishment. Instead they’d been sentenced to eighteen and eleven years in jail and would probably only serve half of those. The second was the breakup of a stolen-car chop shop in Hellingly, near Hailsham. Two local men had been arrested and soon would be appearing in court charged with the dismantling and sale of stolen car parts.

He picked up his copy of the weekend incident report laying on his desk and read that a significant quantity of construction tools had been stolen from a construction compound by the castle at the far end of the Westham village, his village. In the list of stolen tools were two spades, a toolbox containing various spanners, a hand saw, and a 18-volt cordless drill and a sixteen-volt Makita cordless chainsaw. Closer to home, one of his local churches in Pevensey had the lead stripped from its roof. The report said it was especially sad as the church was a 13th century building with a grade one listing.

But not all was gloom and doom in Eastbourne. The previous Friday, he and Karen had gone to see a comedy stage performance of The 39 Steps at the Devonshire Park theatre. When he’d purchased the tickets, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect as he’d read the story many years ago and didn’t remember it being that much of a comedy.

It had been a busy weekend as Airbourne, Eastbourne’s annual fly-by extravaganza of mostly military aircraft took place on the seafront. The programme, including of an RAF Typhoon, Chinook helicopter, Wing walkers, and helicopter rides around Beachy Head had the town buzzing. Topping off the air display was a fly-by of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight consisting of a Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire.

As he read the word Spitfire, he glanced up at the clock and wondered, just where was Jill? She was usually in the office by now him; it was extremely unusual for her to be this late. He turned on his computer to check his emails when the office door opened, and an ashen face Street walked in.

‘What’s the matter, Jill, are you all right? Come in and sit down. Would you like some water?’

She mumbled, ‘yes please.’

Buchanan got up and took a bottle of water from the office fridge.

‘Thanks,’ she said taking a sip. ‘I’ve felt better. Must have been something I ate last night.’

‘What did you have?’

‘Last night, Stephen and I went out for a curry with Morris and Debbie.’

‘Where did you go?’

‘We went to the Royal Indian in Hailsham.’

‘Was it spicy?’

‘Not any more than usual,’ she said screwing the cap back on the bottle. ‘Sorry I’m late.’

‘That’s all right. Do you need to go home?’

‘No, I’ll be fine. Could do with a coffee and something to eat, my last breakfast went down the toilet.’

‘Starbucks?’

‘Sounds just what I need. Would you mind driving?’

‘Not at all. It’s quiet today, not much happening.’

‘You realise you shouldn’t say that, you’ll jinx the day.’

‘Nah, that’s just an old police superstition. Nothing is going to happen today.’

‘Feeling better?’ asked Buchanan as he watched Street wash down the last of her bacon roll with a large cup of coffee.

‘Yes thanks.’

‘How is Stephen, did he have the same food as you?’

‘No, he had lamb, I had chicken.’

‘If you’re feeling better, I think we should be getting back to the office. I have a mountain of paperwork to attend to.’

‘You go on out, I’ll get my coffee in a takeaway cup and join you.’

‘What do we have on today?’ asked Street as she followed Buchanan along the corridor to their office.

‘Mostly paperwork.’

‘That will make a change, be nice to have a chance to get caught up. Oh, thanks for the coffee and bacon roll.’

‘You’re welcome.’

‘I’ll just pop down to the canteen and reheat my coffee.’

Street returned a few minutes later. ‘Funny how coffee never quite tastes the same after being microwaved.’

‘Not to worry, we can stop by Starbucks and get a fresh one on our way to the next incident.’

‘What’s that?’

 ‘Control has just called to tell us about a report from a resident in Westham.’

‘And what did they report?’

‘The resident reported their dog had unearthed what looked like a human hand in their flowerbed.’

‘See, I told you, you’ve jinxed the day.’

‘Nonsense, there’s no such animal.’

‘You could say that, but I won’t comment further. What did she mean by what looks like a human hand?’

‘Apparently she didn’t want the dog to go near to what it had dug up, so she stayed indoors and called 999.’

‘Do we have an address?’

‘Yes. Just up the road from where I live in Westham, house name Hibernia. It’s on Gallows Lane, just off of Rattle Road.’

‘Well since we haven’t much else to do this morning, let’s go have a look at the hand from the flower bed.

Friday, 11 September 2020

Forthcoming attractions. See previous blog for the latest on Buchanan 5 The Missing Heiress.

 

I thought it might be interesting to show the front covers from the two books I am currently writing.


Crichtons End, a dystopian novel about life in the village of Crichtons End when electricity fails and life returns to the days when there were no telephones, television, radio, refrigerators or supermarkets.

Due for publication late 2020





The Jockey's Wife, book six in the DCI Buchanan series. 

When newlyweds Pat McCall and Cynthia Mountjoy loaded up the horse transporter to go racing at Cheltenham, they thought the past was all behind them. But they had not taken in to account the legacy left behind by Cynthia’s disgraced and presumed dead husband Lt Col Victor Mountjoy.The wedding of jockey Pat McCall and stable owner Cynthia Mountjoy had been on hold indefinitely until the a death certificate could be issued for her missing husband. Victor had gone missing when the twin engine Cessna 310 plane he was a passenger in crashed in the English Channel.

Due for publication early 2021.

Special Announcement The Missing Heiress book 5 in the DCI Buchanan series.

 
Special announcement for those of you who have been keenly waiting for the next installment in the DCI Buchanan series. I am pleased to announce that the fifth in the series, "The Missing Heiress" is in post production and should be available the second week in October.

Zilini Barazani, heiress to the Mastrani company empire has gone missing and DCI Buchanan is asked by her father’s good friend Sir Nathan Greyspear, to find his missing daughter.

Is it just a case of a spoilt brat having a tantrum, or something worse? Could it even be a case of kidnapping for ransom, or is there more sinister reason for her disappearance?

When a dismembered body presumed to be that of her boyfriend is discovered buried in a construction pit, the indomitable team of DCI Buchanan and DS Street set out to discover the reasons and whereabouts of the missing Mastrani Heiress, Zilini Barazani. 


This will be a departure from my normal distribution methods. Since all of my books are now published by Mount Pleasant Publishing, they will not only be available from Amazon, but all major bookshops worldwide.

For those of you who still frequent your library, they can order copies.

The community libraries in the Eastbourne and Pevensey Bay area already have copies on their shelves. For some unknown reason, the main Eastbourne library appears to be more interested in displaying computers than books.

All of my books, except the guitar making ones, are also now available as Hardbacks as well as the standard paperbacks and ePub versions.

For those of you who would like signed copies of any of my books please go to my Website and send me an email and let me know how many signed copies you wish to purchase. Single paperback copies direct from me are currently £9.50 a copy plus shipping via Hermes. There is a reduction in the shipping cost for multiple copies.

For full details of all of my books please go to my Website where you can find Full details  for my books and on the Buchanan Cast page you can read a short Bio on the main characters in the Buchanan series.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Life without Cash. Part 1

Could you live and function without cash, do you still write cheques? Is your mattress stuffed with £20 ,and £50 notes, saved religiously for a rainy day? These are questions that are being discussed more and more each day.

A few months ago, I and my wife were in London to have dinner with my son and his wife, and on the wall of the restaurant was a huge notice declaring that cash was no longer accepted.

These days with Covid 19 running riot through the World, even fewer places are now accepting cash, CASH IS DIRTY is the mantra. So how long will it be before cash disappears, relegated to memories and bottoms of the kitchen junk drawer.

Do you remember the days gone by when as a child you would be given a coin to put in your piggy-bank, or as some people do, put all the silver coins in the change into a jar towards Christmas, or a holiday, or just as a way to save money for special something you always wanted.

Without cash the only way to save and spend will be to have a bank account, no matter what age you are.

Now some may say that giving a child a bank account is a wonderful idea, helping them to understand how to manage their money later in life and work towards that ever so important credit rating. But there is a drawback in that scenario - the tax man, he will want to know where little Johny's £20 came from, was it just a gift, or was it Grandpa's way of diverting untaxed income.

Some organisations would welcome a cashless society, and that would be mainly Law Enforcement agencies and Inland Revenue. One of societies greatest debilitating activities is illegal consumption of narcotics, mostly paid for by cash created from various forms of crime. Prostitution is funded by a steady flow of cash, slave wages are mostly in the form of cash, if they are paid anything at all.

But there is a down side to having no cash, and I will discuss this in tomorrow's blog.

If you don't want to miss any of these blogs, then you can sign up for updates on my blog page.

Next in line

I am sometimes asked where do my ideas for a book come from. I usually reply by giving the example of a vegetable plot. To grow healthy, nourishing vegetables you must feed and water the ground that your vegetables are growing in. And so it is with writing, you need to feed your brain, and to do this you must read, read and keep on reading.

Quite often weeds might grow, but pulling them out allows the shoots of the vegetables to grow and flourish. Don't forget that some of the best manure comes out of the back end of a cow.

The  book cover on the left is the provisional cover for the next book I will be working on, Crichtons End.
The premise for the story is all about how life in a country village is turned on its head after electricity stops working.
It was inspired by the stage play by JM Barrie about what happens within a family, when roles are reversed.

The idea came to me one morning as I was driving to work and became stuck in a traffic jam. As I waited for traffic to resume moving I mused about what could cause electricity to stop working. I trolled through my memories of unusual facts for a feasible scenario and remembered the case back in 1859 when a solar flare wiped out most telegraph communications around the world. 

Just imagine the scenario with no electricity - no mobile phones, no GPS, no radio, no television, all bank accounts and pensions frozen. Aircraft, trains, automobiles, ships all unusable. No street lighting at night, no gas or electricity in the home. Refrigerators and freezers warming up and the food inside spoiling.

I have started writing and the more research I do into the phenomenon of solar flares and HEMP explosions, I realise just how close and devastating the end of electricity use as we know it could be.

Provisional publication date is December 2020.


Sunday, 19 July 2020

The Missing Heiress

The Missing Heiress
First draft of the fifth book in the DCI Buchanan series.

The book was originally due for release at the end of March, but with the chaos that has been Covid19, it's expected release date will now be the 5th of September.

As well as getting the manuscript ready to be sent off to my editor, Rosemary, I am working on the cover.

The book will be published by Mount Pleasant Publishing (MPP) as an ePub, Paperback and Hardback, and will be available to order from all major bookshops, as are all of my books. They can also be requested for reading from your local library.

I will have copies available if you wish to order signed copies of the Paperback and Hardback books.

Just in case you have missed any of the DCI Buchanan books, below are the covers for the first 4 books in the DCI Buchanan series.



The Bodies in the Marina. The first book in the DCI Buchanan series.
eBook ISBN  978-1-913471-06-4.         Paperback ISBN  978-1-913471-07-4.            Hardback ISBN   978-1-913471-08-8
Glasgow cop, DCI Jack Buchanan is in Eastbourne, seconded to Sussex CID. His task is to investigate the death of an unidentified young woman found floating in the Marina and also the death of a Sussex Detective Sergeant, drowned in the harbour while still seat belted in his car.When he walked the beat in the Gorbals as a young PC, Jack’s idea of street justice was to take the miscreant down a dark alley, thump some sense into them, and send them on their way.Now, like a fish out of water, and in the genteel surroundings of Eastbourne, would Buchanan be in time to catch the killers before they strike again?

 The Laminated Man. The second book in the DCI Buchanan series.
eBook ISBN  978-1-913471-09-5.         Paperback ISBN  978-1-913471-10-1.            Hardback ISBN   978-1-913471-11-8
In spite of being trapped between the never-ending pressure from above to retire, and the need to quickly resolve the latest, cold blooded murder. Buchanan grits his teeth and doggedly forges ahead with the investigation.
Was the gruesome death of the businessman a one off, performed by some sadistic killer? Or was it a macabre message to those who think they can step out of line?Who sprayed superglue onto DS Street’s hair just weeks before her marriage to PC Hunter. Was it a warning of worse things to come if they didn’t back off?
Come join Buchanan and his indomitable team of, DS Street, PC’s Hunter and Dexter as they unpick the truth from the warp and weft of lies and deceit spread before them.

The Mystery of Cabin 312. Book three in the DCI Buchanan series.
eBook ISBN  978-1-913471-12-5.         Paperback ISBN  978-1-913471-13-2.            Hardback ISBN   978-1-913471-02-6
Recovering from a very bad car crash, Buchanan takes his wife Karen on a two-week luxury cruise through the Dutch and Belgian canals. During the cruise, an English couple go missing. When their cabin is searched, blood stained female clothing is found but there is no trace of her, or her partner. Instead of shore trips, relaxing at the bar and reading, Buchanan is thrust into investigating the mystery of what happened in cabin 312.

The Reluctant Jockey. Book four in the DCI Buchanan series.
eBook ISBN  978-1-913471-15-6.         Paperback ISBN  978-1-913471-16-3.            Hardback ISBN   978-1-913471-17-0
DCI Buchanan is on administration leave and is staying at Castlewood Country Club. He’d seen his wife and daughter off to France on the ferry and now planned to spend the week relaxing, reading, horse riding, and sipping his favourite single malt; and come hell or high water nothing was going to get in the way of that. But he hadn’t reckoned on what mayhem the whirlwind called Cynthia Mountjoy was about to cause.

Friday, 17 July 2020

This is the revised cover for my book The Penitent Heart, published by Mount Pleasant Press and available to order from all book shops and libraries.

It is, as are all of my books, available as an ePub, Paperback, and Hardback.
Signed copies are available direct from me and some select bookshops.

If you live within the eastbourne area, my books are available to borrow from the community libraries.

My new website is now up and fully functional, you can find it here www.alexwillis.me.