Hardcastle’s Quandary by Graham Ison (A Hardcastle mystery Book 15)
English | 2019 | Mystery/Thriller | ePUB | 1.0 Mb
Hardcastle’s Quandary: A letter from a vicar in Norfolk leads DDI Hardcastle and DS Marriott on the road to a shocking and macabre discovery . . .
One rainy morning in March 1927, Divisional Detective Inspector Ernest Hardcastle of the Metropolitan Police is summoned to the office of the Chief Constable CID at New Scotland Yard. Frederick Wensley has received a letter from a Reverend Percy Stoner in Norfolk, convinced that his nephew, Captain Guy Stoner, has been murdered. He recently received a letter, supposedly from Guy, claiming that there had been a fire at his farm in Ditton, Surrey, and asking for money.
Assigned the case, Hardcastle and Detective Sergeant Charles Marriott travel to Ditton, where they make a shocking discovery, and are soon drawn into a shady world of deception, fraud, ex-army officers and West End nightclubs, navigating a labyrinth of twists and turns in their determination to see justice served.
“Donning his new half-moon spectacles, Hardcastle quickly scanned the letter, and then glanced up. ‘What does this have to do with me, sir?’ he asked, although he was certain he was about to find out.
‘Arthur Fitnam has gone sick again, Ernie,’ said Wensley, ‘and his deputy is up to his eyes in a fraud case. As this job is centred on Ditton on V Division, I’m going to ask you to take it on. Frankly, given the state of his health, I don’t think that Arthur will last in the Job too much longer. He’s bound to get cast if he doesn’t die first.’ It was well known in the Force that Arthur Fitnam, V Division’s DDI, had been unwell for some time and the consensus among the unqualified was that he was suffering from cancer.
‘Very good, sir.’ Hardcastle was unhappy at being given a task that was so far from Westminster, but a request from the Chief Constable CID was in fact an order. ‘May I keep this letter, sir?’
‘Of course, Ernie, and attach it to your report to the Director of Public Prosecutions.’ It was a typical Wensley comment and implied not only that there been a murder but that Hardcastle would solve it.
‘Marriott, come in my office,’ shouted Hardcastle, as he passed the open door of the detectives’ room.
Hurriedly donning his jacket, Marriott followed his DDI.
‘You needn’t look so expectant, Marriott. Mr Wensley didn’t send for me to announce that you were about to become an officer and a gentleman.’ Hardcastle handed Marriott the Reverend Percy Stoner’s letter. ‘In short, Marriott,’ he continued, ‘the reverend gentleman thinks his nephew’s been murdered.’
‘Where do we start, sir?”