At long last, my new mystery novel, Valley of Lies, is in the stores.
It's a full-length murder mystery set in the fictional rural Dartmoor village of Embervale.
This time, Dan Corrigan and Alan Hargreaves have a full-blown murder to investigate. There's a snippet below, but to whet your appetite, here's what we might lovingly refer to as the blurb:
An evening in the pub shouldn’t end like this.
But a murder has been committed, and for Dan, the crime is too close for comfort.
When the police are fooled by a false trail, the wrong man stands accused. But Dan won’t stand by while a friend is blamed. He’s determined to solve the mystery, even if it means putting his own safety on the line.
The real murderer must not go unpunished. Justice must be done. But first, Dan will have to untangle a web of deceit – before it's too late.
Join amateur sleuth Dan Corrigan as he tackles his greatest challenge to date.
But make sure you have your wits about you because, in this rural valley, the river runs deep, but the lies run deeper still.
Valley of Lies is on pre-order at a special launch price until 15 February, 2020. After launch, the book will go up to full price.
A Snippet of this New Murder Mystery
Taken from Chapter 1, this excerpt gives you a flavour without, I hope, revealing the plot.
A yell from across the room made them both sit up with a start. A small knot of customers surrounded some kind of scuffle, and Kevin was already striding out from behind the bar, his broad shoulders back. “Enough of that,” he boomed. “I’ll have none of that behaviour in here.”
A man in his early twenties stepped back from the crowd, his face pale, his hair tousled, and his rat-like features twisted into an evil sneer. “He started it, Kev. Mouthing off, as per bloody usual. Ask anyone.” He pointed, and Dan recognised the accused as the elderly man who’d won the liver.
“I’ve done nothing,” the old man protested. “You bloody people are all the same. Nothing but a bunch of lazy bastards. Nothing better to do than gossip behind a man’s back. Following me around, poking your noses in, making your snide little threats. Well, I won’t stand for it, do you hear me? I won’t bloody stand for it!”
Kevin folded his arms, then he fixed the old man with a stern look. “I reckon you’ve had enough for one night, Morty. Come back another day when you’ve cooled down. But you’ll mind your manners or you’ll not be served, understand?”
“It’s Mr Gamble to you,” the old man snapped. “And I don’t have to stand here listening to all this rubbish. I won’t waste another minute of my time on you bloody people. I’m going, all right, and to hell with the lot of you.” Turning on his heel, he marched away, and pausing only to nod to a grey-haired woman sitting alone at a table beside the door, he swept outside.
Kevin cast a warning glance at the group of young men, then he strode back to his position behind the bar, his expression unreadable. The background buzz of conversation resumed, but now, there was an undercurrent of snickering derision, and the young man’s friends were slapping him on the back, laughing. They were pleased with themselves and already retelling the story, no doubt building the petty argument into a confrontation on a much grander scale.
But Dan found his attention going back to the grey-haired woman beside the door. Despite Morty’s obvious rage, he’d taken the time to nod to her; he’d made a point of it. And yet the lady hadn’t met his eye. Instead, she’d sat erect, almost regal, her sombre gaze focused on no one in particular. It must’ve taken some effort to assume such an air of cool indifference when the peace of the quiet pub had been disturbed right in front of her. But nevertheless, she’d managed it.
And there was something else: a tiny gesture that had almost gone unnoticed. But it had piqued Dan’s interest, and he watched the woman for a minute before turning to Alan. “Do you know that lady? The one by the door.”
Alan nodded. “That’s Marge. At least, that’s what most people call her, though it had better be Mrs Treave or Marjorie if you speak to her. Why?”
“I’m not sure. Does she know the man who stormed out just now? Are they friends?”
“I don’t know. They’re of the same vintage, you might say, and they’re both local. She lives in The Old Buttery. It’s a lovely old cottage, or it could be with a bit of work to modernise the plumbing and such. She must be acquainted with Mortimer, but that’s probably as far as it goes. Marge keeps herself to herself, as you can probably see.” He took a drink. “Why do you ask?”
Dan wrinkled his nose. “Probably nothing.”
“Oh, no it isn’t.” Alan leaned forward, lowering his voice. “What is it? What did you see this time?”
End of Snippet.
I hope you enjoyed that little taster.