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A Very Private Murder

D I Charlie Priest is on gardening leave - the neighbours have complained about his weeds – when the call comes. Ghislaine Curzon, girlfriend of one of the royal princes, is in Heckley to open the Curzon Centre, a new shopping mall and conference facility. But as she reveals the commemorative plaque at the opening ceremony it looks like someone has got to it first, defacing it with a single obscene word in foot-high red letters. The visiting dignitaries are aghast, and the chief constable insists on Charlie investigating the case.

Charlie would rather be investigating the burglaries perpetrated by a two-man gang armed with a pit bull terrier, but he welcomes the opportunity to meet Ghislaine at the family’s stately home in East Yorkshire. The jollities cease, however, when the mayor of Heckley is found dead.

The subsequent investigation involves Charlie visiting the mayor’s diminutive, flute-playing wife; the manageress of the mall and her anarchist student son; a half blind jockey and a cornucopia of characters from the rich farmland of East Yorkshire. It’s going to take more than standard police procedure to crack this case.


Published by Allison & Busby (2010)

 


Grief Encounters

As usual, doodling pictures of his colleagues in his notepad is the only entertainment DI Charlie Priest expects to get at the monthly superintendents' meeting, but this time he's in for a surprise. After covering all the points on the agenda, DCS Colin Swainby - the ugliest policeman in the East Pennine force and unfortunate subject of Priest's restless pen - stands to make a personal statement. He is to resign, quietly and without fuss, because certain allegations have been made against him. And those allegations involve a mysterious beautiful woman….

When an attractive woman is snapped in a passionate clinch with MP Edward Gross on the roomy backseat of his Rover Connoisseur, Ted, too, opts for a quiet exit, but his has a far more permanent outcome.

Charlie knows there must be a connection between these two incidents and it becomes clear he's going to have to go to great lengths to prove it.

Stuart Pawson is on top form in this latest Charlie Priest mystery, firmly establishing himself as one of the masters of crime fiction.


Published by Allison & Busby (2007)

 


Shooting Elvis

“OK, listen up…anybody who’s never done a murder enquiry but would like to, raise your hand”. Everybody calls me Charlie… I encourage it…. we’re a team, and I know that every one of them would risk his or her neck for me, and I for them.

So says DI Charlie Priest as his reliable crew at Heckley Police Headquarters are presented with a bizarre murder that leads to the discovery of low-tech industrial espionage. But is selling your employer’s confidential records enough to warrant this particularly sadistic murder? Priest is content in his work, and his home life shows signs of improving. When his girlfriend, a former world-class athlete known as La Gazelle, wins her comeback race his happiness overflows. But all is not well in his team of hand-picked detectives and old enmities begin to surface. The next victim is murdered in even more bizarre circumstances, and Charlie begins to wonder if he himself is a catalyst that motivates the killer.

When his suspicions are confirmed he realises that he is embroiled in much more than a hunt for a murderer. And that the case has now become personal….


Published by Allison & Busby (2006)

 


Over The Edge

Joe Crozier, a businessman with a decidedly shady past, is enjoying a pleasant evening of being wined and dined in all the best places. But the congenial atmosphere is shattered when his host yet again tries to persuade him to sell his nightclub, the Painted Pony. Refusing this time, however, costs Joe more than he could have imagined. Bound and gagged, he takes a silent and deadly dip in the nearby river.
Meanwhile, Charlie Priest is called to another murder scene – only to find that the victim is an old school friend of his, the famous mountaineer, Tony Krabbe.But what could this amiable lecturer have done to deserve being attacked with his own ice-axe? And could the two cases be linked? As girlfriends from Krabbe’s past return to savage his carefully built reputation, Charlie’s own love life takes a turn for the worse. Charlie is both desperate to help his girlfriend and to seek out the truth in the murder cases, but can love and work make comfortable bedfellows… or will Charlie finally be pushed over the edge?


Published by Allison & Busby (2004)

 


Limestone Cowboy

The sun is shining in Heckley, and DI Charlie Priest is wisecracking his way through the daily routine. Work is, if not quite relaxed, at least stress free. The biggest case on the books? A petty thief pinching underwear from washing lines of unsuspecting housewives. Charlie’s pretty confidant he can handle it. And the detective has another reason to be cheerful - his love life is on the up. Local geology teacher, Rosie Barraclough has fallen for his charms and romance is the order of the day.
But all good things come to an end and its not long before the clouds roll in. Two people nearly die after eating contaminated food from a local supermarket and if that wasn’t enough, intelligence soon reaches him that an organised dog-fighting ring has set up operations nearby.
Charlie’s relationship has reached a rocky patch too – Rosie has cooled considerably towards him and it seems she could be hiding something. When Charlie gets to the bottom of her change of heart he is somewhat concerned, but offers his help nonetheless. But, as he’s about to learn, sometimes helping only makes things worse….


Published by Allison & Busby (2003)

 


Laughing Boy

A grey day in Heckley and all is not well. Colinette Jones is the prettiest girl in school: athletic, charming and with everything to live for. What’s more, she’s never late home. So when she fails to show up for her supper, and a body is discovered half a mile from her house, DI Charlie Priest knows he’s got to make the house call that every mother dreads.
Elsewhere another woman breaks with routine in the most horrific of ways – found dead at the side of an unlit lane. Plain Laura Heeley, married to the boy from the next street, two kids within three years and a mundane existence punctuated by episodes of Emmerdale and her twice-weekly visits to the bingo. A single stab wound is the only evidence of violence.
What could connect the two women except their untimely demises? Could there be more to a spate of other seemingly motiveless attacks than meets the eye? And what is the link with a tragic Sixties rock star? Constricted by the foot-and-mouth crisis, the town takes on a claustrophobic air and Priest must trap the killer before he strikes again. But where to begin? Perhaps the fresh gales atop Britain’s highest peaks might get the old grey matter working…


Published by Allison & Busby (2002)

 


Chill Factor

Super salesman Tony Silkstone wreaks a terrible revenge when he comes home to discover his wife dead, apparently strangled by her lover after a sex game that went wrong. The DNA evidence supports Silkstone’s confession and the top brass of Heckley police would like nothing better than to wrap up the case with a manslaughter charge
But DI Charlie Priest is the investigating officer, and he has a reputation amongst the criminal fraternity for always getting his man, even if it takes twenty years. He cannot be convinced that this murder is as cut and dried, as it seems. When a hitman comes to town Charlie is more interested in identifying the proposed target than in arresting the hitman, a strategy that produces surprising results.
As a juvenile car thief plays havoc with the budgets, Charlie breaks one of his cardinal rules and starts dating a fellow officer – the wild haired DC Annette Brown. When links are found between Mrs Silkstone’s killer and the murder of a young girl in another part of the country, Charlie follows the trail only to discover that he is suddenly faced with difficult questions about his friends and his feelings towards them.


Published by Allison & Busby (2001)

 


Some By Fire

Charlie Priest was a newly promoted sergeant on the Leeds force when he was called to the scene of a tragic fire, deliberately set. Now a DI in nearby Heckley, Charlie jumps on the chance to re-open the investigation when a message left by a suicide suggests a new lead. The cat is well and truly amongst the pigeons for those who thought, after two decades, they were safe from justice.
By a combination of luck, detective work and, Charlie would say, soaring flights of the investigative imagination, he is soon closing in on the perpetrators. But a cornered villain with nothing to lose can be dangerous for a copper who’ll take every kind of risk in the hunt for justice


Published by Allison & Busby (2006)

 


Deadly Friends

When Dr Clive Jordan’s dazzling career is brought to an abrupt end by a bullet, his colleagues are devastated – especially the female ones. If the doctor hadn’t been as discreet as an undertaker’s cough, Detective Inspector Charlie Priest of the East Pennine force would suspect a jealous husband. But it’s not going to be that simple.
And Charlie has another case on his hands that he’d give his eye teeth to solve. Janet Saunders’ description of her attacker makes him easy to find, but his story doesn’t quite gel with hers. She couldn’t get enough of him, he says; she’s only complaining because he dumped her.
Charlie knows for certain there’s a killer on the loose – and almost certainly a rapist as well. The chances of bagging either of them seem slim, but Charlie’s a lot tougher and smarter than his affable manner indicates, and that’s bad news for the villains on his patch.


Published by Allison & Busby (2006)

 


Last Reminder

Detective Inspector Charlie Priest’s day hasn’t got off to a good start. Late for work for the first time in twenty years, thanks to a sloe gin hangover, he’s faced with the grim evidence of a crime in the local park before a call comes in to say that one of his constables has discovered a body.
Hartley Goodrich has been found dead in his chair, right beside the flower pot that caused the gash in his head. As Goodrich’s financial advice has lost his clients a small fortune, there’s no shortage of murder suspects. But is the case all it seems?
Charlie Priest has more convictions to his credit than most Yorkshiremen have had roast dinners, yet even he’s thrown by the turn of events as the investigation proceeds. But when everything he holds dear is threatened, Charlie knows he can’t stop digging until he’s found out exactly what’s been going down on his patch…


Published by Allison & Busby (2005)

 


Judas Sheep

Detective Inspector Charlie Priest of the Yorkshire force is officially on leave, but his superiors call him in when Mrs Marina Norris’s chauffeur is found dead by a blast to the head with a Kalashnikov. Charlie is the first to learn that Mrs Norris herself hasn’t been home since the murder, though her husband, a tobacco millionaire, seems unfazed by this fact. Charlie’s certain there’s a link between the murder and the disappearance – but leads are sparse and he has to come off the case.
Soon he’s back in harness again, this time on the trail of drug smugglers on the Hull-Rotterdam run. His contact, Kevin, is a lowly cog in the wheel, and easily hoodwinked into believing that Charlie’s in the same line of business as himself, but with rather greater success, as indicated by his Jag and his classy woman (Charlie’s lovely girlfriend Annabelle, swiftly re-named Sharron when she and a gang member inadvertently meet). But the real villains are not such a pushover – and when Charlie sees a connection to his previous enquiry he realises he’s on very dangerous territory indeed…


Published by Allison & Busby (2005)

 


Mushroom Man

There’s nothing Detective Inspector Charlie Priest hates more than a case involving children. When Georgina, the eight-year-old daughter of local businessman Miles Dewhurst, goes missing, Charlie and his colleagues soon start to fear the worst. And Charlie’s suspicions are focused on Dewhurst – is his performance as desolate parent a little too pat?
In a race against time to find Georgina, Charlie’s life is further complicated when it seems a killer is targeting clergymen. Three have died suddenly, and a picture of a Destroying Angel mushroom has been left beside the body of the latest victim. It seems that something more than coincidence links the deaths – but why would a serial killer focus on men of the cloth? The bishop’s widow, Annabelle is another added distraction for Charlie – if he’s not careful he could soon find himself far more deeply embroiled in one of the cases than he’d ever imagined possible…


Published by Allison & Busby (2004)

 


The Picasso Scam

Detective Inspector Charlie Priest believes in doing things by the book. It’s just that, in the heat of the chase, he sometimes turns over two pages at once. His unorthodox ways have held him at Inspector level for a record –breaking length of time and while few other modern detectives would chase a Rolls Royce down a country lane in an ancient Cortina, Priest does get results. When he’s not putting crooks behind bars, he’s watching out for his team of young constables, only too aware that for them as much as for him the knockabout humour of the cop-shop is in stark contrast to the dangers they face on the beat.
Sheep stealing and shoplifting are everyday crimes in Heckley, but there are local villains with bigger fish to fry. When Charlie suspects a now respected businessman, with a background of extortion and GBH, of involvement in international art fraud, he’s taking on an enemy with friends in high places. But Charlie can be persistent to the point of recklessness – and, once he’s realised that there’s a link in the lethal doctored heroin that’s striking down the local kids, no threat will stop him…


Published by Allison & Busby (2004)