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Autumn, 1940, and London is in the grip of the Blitz. An unidentified female corpse is discovered in an alleyway in Soho—the fourth to have been found in a matter of weeks.
Rene is a Soho prostitute with a young son to support. She’s learnt to cope with the air-raids, but each night on the streets is a terrifying ordeal as the killer begins to pick off her friends. Lucy is a young, middle-class office worker living with her family in Clapham, struggling to make sense of things as her peaceful suburban life degenerates into chaos. Jim is a fighter pilot, handsome and much admired for his heroism in battle. The killer instinct makes him perfectly suited to the daily challenge he faces in the skies of southern England, but the strain is beginning to tell.
In ordinary circumstances, their paths might never have crossed, but in war-torn London, anything can happen. One night a bomb falls, with terrifying consequences for them all…
London, June 1940. When the body of silent screen star Mabel Morgan is found impaled on railings in Fitzrovia, the coroner rules her death as suicide, but DI Ted Stratton of the CID is not convinced. Despite opposition from his superiors, he starts asking questions, and it becomes clear that Morgan’s fatal fall from a high window may have been the work of one of Soho’s most notorious gangsters.
MI5 agent Diana Calthrop, working with senior official Sir Neville Apse, is leading a covert operation when she discovers that her boss is involved in espionage. She must tread carefully—Apse is a powerful man, and she can’t risk threatening the reputation of the Secret Service.
Only when Stratton’s path crosses Diana’s do they start to uncover the truth. But as they discover Morgan’s connection with Apse and their mutual links to a criminal network and a secretive pro-fascist organisation, they begin to realise that the intrigues of the Secret Service are alarmingly similar to the machinations of war-torn London’s underworld.
London, November, 1956. DI Ted Stratton is tasked with investigating the murder of Jeremy Lloyd, a strange young man with a taste for esoteric religion. Stratton’s enquiries lead him to Suffolk, where the mysterious Mr Roth has founded a Foundation for Spiritual Understanding. Apparently Lloyd had believed himself marked out for great things. But at the Foundation, Stratton meets twelve-year-old Michael who is proclaimed as the next incarnation in a long line of spiritual leaders that stretches back to Christ and Buddha. He is rumoured amongst Roth’s disciples to have been immaculately conceived, but the woman who is said to be his mother, and whose photograph was cherished by Lloyd, has disappeared. When a woman’s body is found in woods nearby, Stratton initially assumes he has found ‘the mother’, but the reality turns out to be far stranger and far more terrifying…
After almost five years of conflict, London’s exhausted inhabitants, pounded by the menace of Hitler’s V1 bombs, are living in a world of dereliction. War-weary DI Ted Stratton is no exception, but he cannot help being drawn in by his latest case.
Called on to investigate when a doctor is found dead in Fitzrovia’s Middlesex Hospital, Stratton soon realizes that someone involved is not who they appear to be. Someone who has discarded their own identity and can move and kill freely.
Meanwhile Jenny, Ted’s wife, is working at the local Rest Centre, although her spirit of make-do is wearing thin. When a bombed-out woman appears at the centre, declaring that the man claiming to be her husband is an imposter, Jenny thinks that it must be due to shock. The reality, however, is much stranger and far more dangerous… …[more]
In 1987 Sheila Shand was given a suspended sentence for murdering her father. At her trial, it emerged that she and her mother and sister had been forced to shield brutal sadist Leslie Shand while he subjected them to a reign of terror, daily beatings and sexual abuse. Years later, investigative journalist Amy Vaughan discovers letters and a newspaper cutting about the Shand case while clearing out her late mother’s flat. Concluding that she must be related to the Shands, she decides to visit Sheila’s mother who is in a care home.
Amy is curious about the elderly Iris Shand who pores over an album of family photos, for Amy knows that photographs tell lies. Her own mother had subjected her to a different form of abuse—Munchausen By Proxy, using snaps of the daughter she’d made sick to try to keep the affections of Amy’s father George, a charismatic con-man. Then George appears on Amy’s doorstep…[more]
London, 1955. The bodies of three elderly recluses are found in a house in South Kensington. One of the victims is former society beauty Georgina Gresham, prime suspect in the notorious murder of her husband, James, almost thirty years earlier. Beside her lie the bodies of her brother Edmund and housekeeper Ada. The story behind these deaths takes us back to the late 1890s, to a prosperous and beautiful country house where children are playing in the garden. And then the youngest child, Freddie, is found with fatal head injuries…
Told through three narrators, this is a tight, claustrophobic piece of writing so authentic, so completely in period, that it’s hard to believe it is not a true story.