To mark the publication of T F Muir’s Blood Torment featuring DCI Andy Gilchrist and set in St Andrews, Scotland, here’s an exclusive extract of the book to tempt you further into this excellent series…
When a three-year old girl is reported missing, DCI Andy Gilchrist is assigned the case. But Gilchrist soon suspects that the child’s mother – Andrea Davis – may be responsible for her daughter’s disappearance, or worse, her murder. The case becomes politically sensitive when Gilchrist learns that Andrea is the daughter of Dougal Davis, a former MSP who was forced to resign from Scottish Parliament after being accused of physically abusing his third wife.
Now a powerful businessman, Davis demands Gilchrist’s removal from the case when his investigation seems to be stalling. But then the case turns on its head when Gilchrist learns that a paedophile, recently released from prison, now lives in the same area as the missing child. The paedophile is interrogated but hours later his body is found on the beach with evidence of blunt force trauma to the head, and Gilchrist launches a murder investigation.
As pressure relentlessly mounts on Gilchrist, he begins to unravel a dark family secret, a secret he believes will solve the fate of the missing child…
7.18 a.m., Monday, mid-April
DCI Andy Gilchrist had just taken his first mouthful of sliced mango when his mobile rang – ID Jessie. ‘Morning, Jessie. Hungover, are we?’
‘Is that the pot nipping the kettle?’
He was indeed feeling a tad tender. Impromptu celebrations and a one-for-the-road deoch an dorus – or was it three? – in The Central had that effect on him now, but he said, ‘Never felt better.’
‘Cross your heart and hope to die? And I don’t think. Listen,’ she said, ‘I’ve just caught a message being passed out on the radio from Control. We’ve got a Grade 1 priority. Missing child. Katie Davis. Two years old. Mother put her to bed last night, checked on her this morning, and she was gone. Mother’s never married. Lives by herself.’
The name meant nothing to him. ‘Who’s the father? Do we know where he is?’
‘Don’t know to both questions. But I’ll get on to that. The Duty Inspector’s getting a dog handler over to the house as soon as. Grange Road. You know it?’
‘Branches off before the Kinkell Brae?’
Gilchrist pushed his fruit to the side. ‘Address?’
‘Yeah. She’s well to do, by the sounds of it. Which might be a motive for kidnap. But there’s no ransom note. Nothing.’
‘That could come later.’
‘I phoned the Duty Inspector,’ Jessie said, her voice rushing, ‘and asked her to check ViSOR for any RSOs in close proximity.’
The Violent and Sex Offender Register was a police system that kept tabs on RSOs – Registered Sex Offenders. From the rush in Jessie’s voice, Gilchrist suspected they had their fi rst solid lead.
‘Keep going,’ he said.
‘A nasty paedo by the name of Sammie Bell moved into the area about three weeks ago.’
‘Never heard of him.’
‘Doesn’t ring a bell, you mean?’
‘He’s just moved back from London.’
‘Back?’ he said. ‘So he used to live here?’
‘Family home’s in Crail. Not too far from where you live. Parents dead. No siblings. Mother passed away last month, which might explain why he’s returned.’
‘To claim his inheritance?’
‘Got it in one.’
Jessie gave it to him. Anstruther Road ran south from Westgate on the outskirts of Crail, and was bounded by some nice property. ‘Find out what you can on Bell, and get back to me.’
‘Want me to pick you up?’
‘I’ll meet you there.’
Born in Glasgow, T. F. Muir was plagued from a young age with the urge to see more of the world than the rain sodden slopes of the Campsie Fells. By the time he graduated from University with a degree he hated, he’d already had more jobs than the River Clyde has bends. Short stints as a lumberjack in the Scottish Highlands and a moulder’s labourer in the local foundry convinced Muir that his degree was not such a bad idea after all. Twenty-five years of working overseas helped him appreciate the raw beauty of his home country. Now a dual US/UK citizen, Muir divides his time between Richmond, Virginia, and Glasgow, Scotland, carrying out research in the local pubs and restaurants. Frank is currently doing some serious book research in St Andrews’ local pubs, and working on his next novel, another crime story suffused with dark alleyways and cobbled streets and some things gruesome. Visit the author’s website here Follow on Twitter @FrankMuirAuthor