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A Christmas cracker!
Book 2 in the DCI Rose Huntingford series.
Santa has become a serial killer overnight - a mission killer (the hardest to catch), avenging events of many years ago. But what was the trigger?
The squad must also try to trace the mother of an abandoned baby, tragically killed.
Plus, a mad woman is after Rose's head on a platter - a merry Christmas isn't looking likely... More
DCI Rose Huntingford will never see forty again and is serially fantasising about getting a proper job that doesn’t involve dead bodies – if she could vegetate between coffee and lunch breaks, so much the better. She feels the need to reclaim her life before it’s too late, dangerously unaware that it’s already much later than she thinks – a killer whom she put away the previous year has escaped from a secure mental institution and is intent on revenge. Only Rose’s head on a platter will do.
When four fit men in their thirties are murdered in quick succession, the common factors are Santa Claus and death by strangulation - plus an identical message left either at the crime scene or the victims’ homes: ‘4 DAVY – U MURDRER’. An arson attack then claims the life of the second victim’s younger brother – surely not a coincidence, but if the death is connected, the age range of victims has increased and a link is even more elusive. Rose struggles to fund a common denominator between the men, either present day or in their past; schools, clubs, work and location are gradually eliminated – and relatives don’t recall either the other victims’ names or any association with a Davy.
Investigations into the killing of a retired priest, who has been strangled in an identical manner and his body mutilated, reveal that he may have been killed in a case of mistaken identity. The murder is not on Rose’s patch, but comes to her attention because two Santas were seen running from the scene. The intended victim must hold the historical key to the killings – if Rose can get to him before the killer(s) realise their error.
Interwoven with the squad’s investigation into Santa’s Slays – as some wag has entitled the incident board – is their search for Poppy’s mum, who abandoned her baby for reasons unknown and expertly covered her tracks. In a tragic scenario which no one could possibly have imagined, the baby is killed and the squad fear for the mother’s physical and mental health – but can find no record of someone who might have given birth to the child, either locally or nationwide.
Not a very merry Christmas!