Title: A Fearful Madness
Author: Julius Falconer
Genre: Fiction/ Detective Murder Mystery
Publisher: Pneuma Springs Publishing
If you think that religion, sex, the aristocracy and mystery might make a good crime novel, TRY THIS ONE!
A police investigation into the violent death of a part-time cathedral verger stalls for lack of incriminating evidence. However, three people have a close interest in clearing the matter up where the police have failed: the dead man’s sister, anxious to see justice done, and two of the police suspects, both released without charge but keen to clear their names.
Striking out on their own, each approaches the murder from a different perspective: book-trafficking on the black market; revenge by an extremist religious organisation for the dead man’s betrayal of them; and retaliation in a case of blackmail. The police continue to maintain that the murder was committed out of sexual anger, even though they have no proof apart from the circumstances of the verger’s death.
Eventually DI Moat and his assistant DS Stockwell, from the North Yorkshire Force, take a hand. Moat pays his predecessors in the investigation, both professional and amateur, the compliment of taking their findings seriously – but comes up with an idea of his own.
‘Right, Max,’ Alex Carter began when all were seated. ‘This is the story. And you’re to tell no one, not even yourself: it’s a deadly secret.’ The boy’s eyes widened. ‘First of all, Alex Carter isn’t my real name, and Lorna and I aren’t really married. We’re under cover.’
‘What, like in the movies?’
‘Well, yes, I suppose so, but this is for real. Two years ago, I was wrongly accused of a crime, and my name’s never been cleared. I had to leave where I lived because I couldn’t bear all the suspicion. Because the real murderer – ’
‘Yes, I was accused of murder. As I say, because the real murderer wasn’t found – and still hasn’t been – people still suspect me, and I can tell you life was impossible. I lost my friends – the few I had – gave up my job and moved away. It was so bad, I ended up in a psychiatric ward – you know, a mental hospital, loony-bin, whatever you want to call it.’
‘What, you did?’
‘Yes, I did. Well, while there I was seen by a really fantastic psychiatrist who recommended me to consult a woman called Mrs Tukes, who specialised in childhood traumas – you know, people who’d suffered as children and couldn’t get their lives on track. This Mrs Tukes was a wizard. She turned me right round, from a shy, awkward bloke with few friends and few interests to the self-confident, dynamic and fully rounded individual you see before you today – ahem. Mrs Tukes encouraged me to talk to her about how I’d suffered as a child and what I felt about things – everything, really. She was really patient, as she must have been bored stiff listening to all my ramblings. I told her the story of the murder as well, and she was very sympathetic. She helped me see that, although the police had apparently given up, there was no need for me to. I had to keep asserting my innocence to myself and defying the world to do its worst.’
‘So who are you, Mrs Carter: are you Mrs Tukes?’
‘No, Max, my name’s Rita, and I’m Alex’ cousin. Because I’m widowed, I’m free to join Alex in his hunt for James Thwaites’ killer.’
‘And what’s your real name, Mr Carter?’
‘You mustn’t tell anyone, Max: Jonas; but nobody’s to know that.’ The boy stared at the two adults, but whether in incomprehension, admiration or sheer wonder was not apparent.
‘So why are we watching the Becketts, Mr Carter?’ Max asked, gulping down whatever emotion had seized him.
‘Well, it’s like this. After the murder, I was in some state, I can tell you, largely for other reasons, but the way the police treated me was awful, just awful, and I couldn’t get myself together. I spent eight months in custody – you know, in prison – while the police tried to get evidence against me, and if it hadn’t been for a clever lawyer, I might still be …
Julius Falconer completed six enjoyable years of university studies abroad before working as a translator back in the UK. Thinking that he could earn more as a teacher, to fund his lavish life-style, he took a PGCE at Leeds University and duly turned to teaching. He slaved away at the chalk-face for twenty-six long years in both Cornwall and Scotland before retiring to grow cabbages in Yorkshire, where he still lives. His wife of thirty-three years died in 2000. He has one daughter, married. In 2008, looking to fill his new-found leisure profitably, he started to write detective novels and is still happily scribbling away eighteen books later. He is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association. Go to www.juliusfalconer.com for further exciting details.