Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Ted Bundy Conversations With A Killer by Stephen G. Michaud & Hugh Aynesworth #Netflix #TedBundy #SerialKiller #TrueCrime @TheMirrorBooks

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Ted Bundy Conversations With A Killer by Stephen G. Michaud & Hugh Aynesworth
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

The book behind the sensational Netflix series The Ted Bundy Tapes.

Now the subject of a major motion picture, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, starring Zac Efron

Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer was born out of more than 150 hours of exclusive interview footage with Bundy himself, recorded on death row before his execution in a Florida electric chair.

Bundy’s shocking eleventh-hour confessions to journalists Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth provide a horrifying insight into the twisted mind of America’s most notorious serial killer.

He was a sadistic monster.

A master manipulator.

His grisly killing spree left at least 30 innocent young women dead.

This is Ted Bundy in his own words.

Extract ~

TB: Uh huh. That would be fair to say. The sexual activity was very responsive and very energetic. Uh, at certain parts of the evening he felt himself on the edge of taking her life, just, just out of the desire to do so. But the justifications were not there. Nor was that malignant condition that active at that time. It was active, but not at high strength. But when morning came around and they dressed and he took the girl back to the area where she lived, he felt like he’d accomplished something.

He deluded himself at that point into thinking that he had really conquered those impulses. But within a period of time he discovered that that was an inaccurate conclusion. He didn’t recognize then, or perhaps he did not want to recognize, that just the matter of a week or two later he probably would have killed her.

SM: What happens when the malignant part cannot be controlled or insists on gratification? At Lake Sammamish, for instance, there were great risks taken. But what if the urge is there and it can’t, for some reason, be met?

TB (pause): In the wake of a particular crime, he was not in a state of remission. That is, he actively wanted to go out and seek a victim. But he knew that he could not afford to do so without creating an intolerable amount of more public frenzy and panic, as well as police activity.

But while driving one day, he saw a young girl walking along a deserted area. It was just too good an opportunity to pass up. So he exited his car and approached the girl and shoved her into a bushy field. Without any preparation. No planning. Without any disguise. Just an impulsive kind of thing. And then he was faced with the prospect:
What should he do with her? He’d have to debate a considerable amount. There had been an illegal act of rape. Yet he refrained from harming her physically and left the scene and returned to his car and drove home. Had it occurred a few weeks later, he wouldn’t have acted in the same way. Or a few days later. But he did not want to create a great amount of public furor because it would reduce the opportunity for victims later on and it would increase the possibility of eyewitness reports. And he knew enough about these circumstances that, in all likelihood, it wouldn’t be reported. Or if it was reported, nothing much would be done about it. They wouldn’t necessarily link it to the other crimes. It would have been a simple act of rape of the type that is fairly common.
(Bundy said that the act of rape alone did not satisfy “the entity.” But during the last segment of this last interview, he described another scene in which, he maintained, the object was rape. Two days before his execution, Ted told Dennis Couch of the Salt Lake County sheriff’s office how he had murdered sixteen-year-old Nancy Wilcox in October of 1974. According to Couch, the account Bundy gave of the crime matches this story, almost verbatim.)

TB: As we’ve discussed before, frequently after this individual, uh, committed a murder, he would lapse, uh, into a period of sorrow, remorse, et cetera. And for a period of time he would do everything to overcome and otherwise repress the, uh, the overt behavior. Indeed, on one particular occasion he went to extraordinary lengths to do this following a crime, and he felt that he had succeeded, that the abnormal course of conduct had just sort of, uh, extinguished itself. He became somewhat satisfied and secure with the feeling that he had accomplished this.

But in this instance, the cracks in the façade, as it were, began to appear. He then would attempt to channel the desire within him into a different area, into something which was still, uh, improper, immoral or illegal, but something that was less serious, less severe.
Uh, and so he, in sort of a, uh, a compromise decided that rather than go out and inflict this mortal injury on a someone he would search out a victim in such a way that there would be no possibility of detection and he would not be forced into a position of having to kill. In essence he compromised into just going out and performing an act of rape, as it were.

So, he, uh, began to just go out driving around the suburbs, uh, in this city, uh, that he was living in, and one particular evening he’s driving down a fairly dark street and saw a girl walking along the street. Okay?

SM: Uh huh.

TB: Because the area was dark and she was alone, he decided to select her as the victim for this intended act of sexual assault. He parked his car down the street, and, uh, then ran up behind the girl.

Just as he came up upon her, they were at a place where there was an orchard, or a number of trees or something. As he came up behind her she heard him. She turned around and he brandished a knife and grabbed her by the arm and told her to do what he wanted her to do. You know, to follow him.

SM: Yeah.

TB: He pushed her off the sidewalk into this darkened, wooded area, and uh, told her to submit and do what he wanted her to do.

She began to argue with him and he kept telling her to be quiet. She said she didn’t believe he would do anything to her, anyway. Then he began to try to remove her clothes and she would, uh, continue to struggle in a feeble manner. And also voice verbally her objections to what was going on.

And then, uh, the significance, now, is that his intent with this victim was not to harm her. He thought this was going to be a significant departure; perhaps even a way of deconditioning himself, to climb down that ladder or, uh, I can’t think of a good word, de-, de-escalate this level of violence to the point where there would be no violence at all. Even no necessity for that kind of encounter at all.

SM: I see.

TB: But he found himself with this girl who was struggling and screaming. Uh, not screaming, but let’s say just basically arguing with him. There were houses in the vicinity and he was concerned that somebody might hear. And so, in an attempt to stop her from talking or arguing, he placed his hand over her mouth.

She stopped and he attempted to remove her clothes and she began to object again. At this point, he was in a state of not just agitation, but something on the order of panic. He was fearing that she would arouse somebody in the vicinity.

So, not thinking clearly but still intending not to harm her, let’s say, he placed his hands around her throat.

SM: Uh huh.

TB: Just to throttle her into unconsciousness so that she wouldn’t scream anymore. She stopped struggling, and it appeared that she was unconscious. But not, in his opinion, to a point where he had killed her.

SM: Right.

TB: Then let’s say he removed her clothes and raped her and put his own clothes back on. At about that point, he began to notice that the girl wasn’t moving. It appeared, although he wasn’t certain, that he’d done what he had promised himself he wouldn’t do. And he had done it, really, almost inadvertently.

Uh, so he took the girl by one of her arms and pulled her to a darkened corner of this little orchard and then, in a fit of panic, fled the scene. He got back in his car and drove back to his house, still not knowing if the girl was alive or dead.

But once he returned to the house, upon reflection he began to wonder. He didn’t know if he’d left anything at the crime scene. He hadn’t thought about publicity and physical evidence.

So he decided to return to the scene and if the body was there to recover it and take it somewhere else where it wouldn’t be found.

SM: Is this the same night?

TB: Huh? Oh, yeah. But he faced two problems in returning to the scene. First, prior to the incident he was in a state of intoxication, and he didn’t know the area that well. So he couldn’t remember exactly where it was he had to return, couldn’t find his way back, as it were.

But let’s say, after a considerable period of time of driving about in the general vicinity, uh, he was able to locate the area. It was getting fairly late about this time.
Nobody was in the vicinity, so apparently she hadn’t gotten up and gone away and the police hadn’t returned to the scene. Or she was still there.
He parked his car at the curb in front of this small orchard and walked into it and saw that, in fact, the body was still in the same position he’d left it.
So it was clear that the girl was dead.

So he carried the body to his car and put it in and covered it. Then he returned to the general area with a flashlight and scoured it to pick up everything that he may have left there – her clothing, et cetera. He placed that in the car and then returned to his apartment.

SM: Did he find everything?

TB: I don’t know.

SM: Would he have worn a mask?

TB: No, I don’t think so. I mean, he didn’t… it was dark and he…

SM: Well, the reason I asked is that if the intent was not to kill the victim, you would think that there would have been some kind of measure taken to disguise his identity.

TB: In a way, it was planned, but in a way it was like a spur of the moment thing for this person. He figured the object was to do it in such a way that it would be done in a very dark scene. Eventually, he found that kind of opportunity.

Stephen
Stephen G. Michaud
Website

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Death Of An Actress Q&A with #Author Antony M Brown @ccjury & #Extract #TrueCrime #NewRelease #NonFiction @TheMirrorBooks #DeathOfAnActress Sex, lies & Murder on the high seas. . .

DEATH OF AN ACTRESS FC
Death Of An Actress by Antony M Brown
Synopsis:

Published in time for the 70th anniversary of one of the most dramatic trials in British criminal history.
DEATH OF AN ACTRESS is the second in the Cold Case Jury Collection, a unique series of true crime titles. Each case study tells the story of an unsolved crime, or one in which the verdict is open to doubt. Fresh evidence is presented and the reader is invited to deliver their own verdict.

October 1947. A luxury liner steams over the equator off the coast of West Africa and a beautiful actress disappears from her cabin. Suspicion falls on a dashing deck steward with a reputation for entering the cabins of female passengers. When the liner docks at Southampton, the steward is questioned by police. Protesting his innocence, he makes an astonishing admission that shocks everyone, and is charged with murder. His trial at the historic Great Hall in Winchester draws the world’s media. He is found guilty and sentenced to hang.

But was the verdict sound?

Many believe not.

Now for the first time, Antony M. Brown has secured unprecedented access to the police file, enabling the definitive story to be told. Included in the file are original court exhibits, including a hairbrush with strands of the actress’s red hair. Could a personal effect left behind in her cabin provide clues to how she might have died? Take your seat on the Cold Case Jury…

Q&A:

Q) What’s different about the Cold Case Jury true crime collection?

A) It is a series of cold murder cases, normally from the first half of last century, which combine history with a mystery. I have three goals. First, to engage the reader directly. Rather than passively describing events, I use dramatic reconstruction to show what happened and what might have happened. Second, to present key evidence in a special section. Where possible, I introduce new evidence, too. In Death of an Actress, I am the first author to have seen the police file, and new evidence and photographs are published for the first time. Third, to invite readers to deliver their verdicts online on what they think happened. Hence the reader becomes part of the case, helping to bring it to some closure.

Q) What is Death of an Actress about?

A) The second book in the series is about the tragic death of 21-year-old Gay Gibson in 1947. She disappeared from the passenger liner Durban Castle as it sailed from Cape Town to Southampton. A deck steward, James Camb, was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to hang, although many believe there was insufficient evidence to convict. Others believe he was innocent.

Q) Why is it an interesting case?

A) First, it is a murder on the high seas, which is rare. Second, there was no body – it was dumped into the sea. Again, this is unusual in a murder case because the body reveals the cause of death, and without one, the evidence is circumstantial. Third, there was no body because the only suspect confessed to disposing of it while protesting his innocence at the same time. Lastly, the case is from 1947, a different era from today in terms of travel, moral values and medicine. All these factors play a part in this fascinating case.

Q) Why did you select the excerpt below?

A) The extract dramatically reconstructs the first encounter between Gay Gibson and James Camb on board the Durban Castle. It is based solely on James Camb’s account, of course, but many details were gleaned from other evidence and witness testimony. We know from the statements of her friends – unheard at the trial and published for the first time in the book – that Gay talked intimately to strangers. Did this conversation spark attraction between her and the steward? Or was everything distorted in the mind of the man who would later be charged with her murder? Whatever you believe, it is no exaggeration to say that this encounter started a chain reaction that lead to the death of an actress.

EXTRACT:
Camb returned, holding a tray aloft with the palm of his right hand, his left tidily tucked behind his back. As he placed the cocktail glass carefully onto the drink mat in front of her, he observed the spark in her beautiful brown eyes.

“A John Collins, madam. Enjoy,” he said, bowing theatrically. Gay giggled and took a sip. “That’s perfect. Thank you.” She replaced the glass on the table, which gently moved up and down with the swell, as if the ship were breathing.

“So, you’re returning from holiday?” Camb asked, eager to restart the conversation. “No, I’ve just finished performing in a play in Johannesburg – Golden Boy. Have you heard of it?” Camb shook his head. “Well, my leading man was Eric Boon. I bet you’ve heard of him.” “Yes, of course, the Thunderbolt. He’s a good boxer.”

“He’s also an actor, you know. He’s already been in a film, Champagne Charlie.” The steward looked blankly. “With Tommy Trinder and Stanley Holloway?” Gay could see he was still none the wiser. “Well, I guess he brought some star quality to the production, being famous ’n’ all.”

“Is the play coming to London? I could come and see it when I get some leave.” “No, it finished early. It received good reviews and everything, but they closed the theatre.” “Sounds like tough luck. What will you do now?” “I’ve got some introductions to theatres back home.” She took another sip of her cocktail. “And your boyfriend’s joining you later?” Camb asked cheekily, although his only interest in the answer was to assess her likely availability.

“Charles has to run his business, so he couldn’t come with me, but I can’t stop thinking about him.” She placed both her hands across her breast. “We’ve been going steady for only a month, but I’m already crazy about him. He’s taken me to all the best restaurants and clubs in Johannesburg, you know.”

Camb was not deterred by her proclaimed affection, but her answer seemed a little odd. “Why not stay and act in South Africa, then?” he asked. “Well…” Gay hesitated, glancing down to the table. She took another sip of her drink. “Things are a little delicate right now.” “You mean he doesn’t feel the same way?” “No, he’s crazy about me, too. I just know he is,” she gushed. “Well, if you were my girl, I wouldn’t let you go,” he joked. Camb expected a giggle in response but instead Gay suddenly looked pensive. “It’s just…” she started, taking a puff of her cigarette. “Well, let’s just say, things may have become a little… complicated.” Camb asked jocularly, “You don’t mean to tell me you’re having a baby?”

Gay didn’t take offence at Camb’s familiarity. “Well, it’s rather too soon to know,” she replied cautiously. “If that’s the position, why don’t you marry the man?” There was a long pause. “It’s not quite as easy as that.” “The longer you leave it…” “He’s already married,” she cut in.

Camb said nothing, as he surmised the probable purpose of her trip to England. Gay changed the subject, her mood brightening a little as she spoke. “I’m going to have a rest after lunch. I always feel a little sleepy then. Would you mind bringing me a tray of afternoon tea in my cabin? At about four o’clock?” “I cannot leave the Promenade Deck, especially at that time,” Camb explained. “I’m busy with the tea service. When you want afternoon tea, summon the cabin steward and tell him what you want. I’ll prepare your tray and he will bring it to your cabin.” Gay nodded as a male voice called out, “Steward, is it possible for someone else to get served here?” “You’d better go,” she smiled.

Camb slid a printed Manila slip and a stubby pencil across the table. “Could you sign and date it. You settle your account at the end of each week.” Gay filled out the docket. “And your cabin number, please.” He took the slip and circled five pence in the top corner, although he was more interested in knowing the cabin number. He said goodbye, and promptly left. The next time he looked into the Long Gallery there was only an empty, lipstick marked cocktail glass on the corner table.

Image from the inside the book:
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Antony M. Brown
Antony M Brown
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My post on, The Green Bicycle Mystery

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Anne Bonny #Review I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara @FaberBooks #NonFiction #NewRelease #GoldenStateKiller #TrueCrime

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I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara
Synopsis:

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer – the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised California for over a decade – from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

‘You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.’

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called the Golden State Killer. Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death – offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic – and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

My Review:

This scary and yet oh so fascinating book, is journalist Michelle McNamara’s personal investigation into the ‘golden state killer’. The author has meticulously trawled through thousands of documents, in an attempt to learn more details that may indicate who the killer terrorising the state is. It is worth noting that the writer sadly passed away during the writing of the book. Therefore, the book has been constructed by those who assisted her with her investigation. I think this important to note, as the timeline often jumps around the decades. But the main consensus of her findings is all included.

The book has an introduction by crime fiction author Gillian Flynn and an afterword by the authors husband, actor Patton Oswalt. Both shine a light on the author behind the novel. Both have incredible admiration for her drive and ambition to see justice served. There is a powerful letter to the killer from Michelle at the end and you get the distinct impression, she was one hell of a woman! If anything, ever happened to me, I would hope that the investigator had Michelle’s quest for justice.

The book opens with a map of the attacks and a list of investigators and victims. The author has predominantly put the victims at the heart of this book. This gives them a voice that I have rarely seen in true crime. Too often the focus is solely on the psychology of the killer and the criminal activities are in danger of being sensationalised. What Michelle has done, is show you the true horror of the crimes whilst maintaining you never forget the victims he left behind in his wake.

The golden state killer was previously known as the east area rapist. Where he carried out 50+ sexual assaults. The rapes take place in an organised and often controlled manner. Which makes them even more frightening. After one specific assault, where the perpetrator is chased by a neighbour (an FBI agent) he turns to murder. The murders offer him a way to silence his victims forever.
The development to serial rapist to serial killer is fully explored.

The book focuses on different cases individually. The one that stuck in my mind early on, was the murder of Manuela. The aftermath of survivor’s guilt for her husband is laid bare. How do you ever get your life back after such an awful crime has occurred? How do you accept no closure or justice? The crime is detailed further in the book, it is horrific and the very stuff of all women’s nightmares.

“Good criminalists are human scanners”

The killer then adapts his usual attacks of focusing solely on the female victims, to attacking couples. Sometimes even with their children present in the home.
Do not read this, late at night!
What makes this book so terrifying, is that it is all real.
These are real crimes and the killer is still at large.

With the killer adapting to couples, we are walked through the case of Patty & Keith. There was no DNA evidence available at the time of the murders and this allowed the killer to evade justice for so long. Eventually committing heinous crimes over several decades. With the introduction of DNA evidence, comes the matching up of the cases. But it doesn’t lead to any matches in the CODIS system, not even a familial match!

For Michelle McNamara the unsolved case became an obsession. It took over her life and became a vocation. No one wanted justice for these victims more than Michelle. The book details why Michelle was so obsessed by unsolved crimes. The case from her childhood that she has never forgotten, that would lead to her desire to put the golden state killer behind bars.

“I need to see his face.
He loses his power when we know his face”

I am a huge fan of various crime shows such as criminal minds or law & order special victims unit. But they never prepare you for true crime documentary’s or non-fiction books that explore all the darker angles of the criminal’s deviant crimes. The golden state killer had a commitment to reconnaissance. He was known to taunt the police and goad the victims, even decades after rape took place. There is one specific call he makes to a victim, which is detailed in the book. I don’t think I will ever forget the horror he fully intended the victim to feel.
There are other comments muttered to victims during assaults that are just as vile.

“Make one move and you’ll be silent forever and I’ll be gone in the dark” – To a 16yr old victim, believed to be a case of mistaken identity.

The toll the case took on the investigators is debated, and they are named throughout. The author wanted people to see how many hours of investigation went into this case and yet it led it led to nowhere. The various investigators have an in-depth profile of the killer. Which I can only imagine must be incredibly frustrating to them. To go on and on, not getting a face to the name.

“The typical rapist does not have such elaborate schemes” – Carol Daly

There is so many themes discussed it would be impossible for me to list them all within this review. The development of forensics and by whom, is given a spotlight. The psychology of the rapist is also debated amongst professionals. Why is the killer so controlled? Is it dominance and power he seeks?
But still the killer persists to taunt the police…

“I’m the east area rapist I have my next victim stalked and you guys can’t catch me”

The story of young victim Janelle Cruz, Is truly heart-breaking. A girl that had already known abuse and neglect. Her life snuffed out, like it didn’t even matter.

“Nothing signals terror like a teenage girls wild, unrestrained scream in the night”

Similarly, the case of mother and daughter Debbi & Cheri Domingo. The mother Cheri and daughter Debbi, rarely got along and had the usual teen and mother drama of arguments. But when Cheri is taken far too early from Debbi. It will have an everlasting effect on Debbi’s young life, leading to addiction issues etc. I think this is something often overlooked in most true crime stories. The impact of the crimes on the surviving family members. I can not imagine a coping mechanism that ever prepares you for the news; these families received.

The identification of the golden state killer is further complicated by other killers who were known to have operated within the same area. For example, the night stalker Richard Ramirez 1984-1985. These cases were often similar and of the same savagery.

Although this book has given me several sleepless nights. It is a more than a worthy read. It is important for our society to put a face to victims of such heinous crimes. To force the justice system to ensure women are safe in the street and in their homes.
Highly recommended 4*

MM
Michelle McNamara
Website – True Crime Diary

#BlogTour #Extract Into The Valley by Chris Clement-Green @TheMirrorBooks

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Into The Valley by Chris Clement-Green
Synopsis:
Encouraged by the sizeable pay increase and high divorce rate, Chris Clement-Green decided that answering a recruitment ad for the Thames Valley Police was just the thing for a much-needed overhaul of her life. It was 1984, a time before political correctness, at the height of the miner’s strike and in the middle of five years of race riots. Perfect timing. Expanding her police knowledge, her love life, and undeterred by sexist remarks and chauvinists she decided to make her mark, while kissing goodbye to her previous dull and conventional existence. Chris captures the colourful characters and humour in many of the situations she found herself in, but the job had it’s serious side, too. She was at the centre of a riot in Oxford, during which her life was saved by a young black man she had previously stopped and questioned, and was attacked by a man with mental-health problems who was a consequence of the decision to move ‘care’ into ‘the community’. Consistently coming up against the effects of Margaret Thatcher’s politics; from miner’s picket-lines, covering (badly) for striking paramedics during the ambulance dispute to everyday drunken disturbances caused by the haves (Yuppies and Oxford students) and the have-nots (alcoholic homeless and unemployed youth), Chris also tackled sex crimes and abuse. An often humorous, always candid and no-holds-barred reflection of the life of a policewoman in the 80s, this book offers a personal account of a life in uniform, while touching on the Newbury Bypass demos, the effects of Scarman, the Hungerford Massacre, the bombing of Libya, the AIDS epidemic and working under the notorious Ali Dizaei.

#Extract:

EXTRACTS:

It was a warm morning in mid-April when I stood to attention with 39 other recruits in the lecture theatre of Sulhamstead Park near Reading. With my right hand raised and a serious- ness of purpose I’d never experienced before, not even on my wedding day, I swore allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen.

I swear by almighty God that I will well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality. I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserve and prevent all offences against people and property; and that while I continue to hold the said office I will, to the best of my skill and knowledge, discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law.

Although I didn’t believe in God, I meant every other word.

Thirty minutes later my lungs and legs were burning; I could feel sweat dripping into eyes scrunched against such unknown exertion. The fitness test consisted of a one-and-a- half mile run, followed by a minute each of press-ups, burpees, sit-ups, thrust-jumps and star-jumps. It finished with a flexibility test which, thank God, involved sitting down and stretching forward to touch upturned toes. The WPCs had thirteen-and-a-half minutes to complete the run; the men were allowed only ten.

My efforts were rewarded by a new force record, which, as far as I’m aware, has never been beaten. No one in the illustrious history of Thames Valley Police recruit training has ever taken 26 minutes to complete that run – exactly twice the allotted time – and I didn’t stop once. I was in perpetual motion, with one of the physical training instructors walking alongside my jogging frame yelling encouragement, ‘Come on WPC Foster – make a fucking effort!’

******************

My teenage friends would have been horrified that I joined the police at all. They would have condemned me for going over to the ‘dark side’. They were a great group of cider- drinking, bike-riding, pretend Hells Angels, who head-banged to Lynyrd Skynyrd and grew their own marijuana from seeds collected from packets of budgie food.

I am secretly proud to say that I cultivated a number of plants to a respectable height, although they never reached the maturity required for use. I was sixteen and studying hard for my O-levels when I recall my mum walking into my bed- room with an armful of ironing and a cup of tea. She noticed the three small tomato-like plants on the windowsill, which I’d moved from behind the normally half-closed curtains,

‘They’re nice, love, what are they?’ ‘Pot plants,’ I replied without looking up. ‘Lovely.’ She closed the door, leaving me to my studies.

****************************

My first solo foot-beat resulted in my first ten-nine shout, and I blame this embarrassing fact entirely on Maggie Thatcher. It was a direct result of her Care in the Community policy, the government-sponsored abandonment of the mentally ill so that mental hospitals, situated in large grounds on the outskirts of expensive cities, could be sold off for the development of lucrative luxury apartments.

            Fergus was a schizophrenic who, to all intents and purposes, had been made homeless by this policy. He’d been placed in an unsupervised halfway house where he’d been left to his own devices; which did not include taking his medication on a regular basis. Thus, I was dispatched to sort out a disturbance in an alleyway called Fryers Entry that runs down the side of Debenhams.

On my arrival, Fergus was ranting obscenities at passing shoppers and at first I mistook him for a new dosser – he certainly looked and smelt like one – but he did not play by the same rules. When I took hold of his arm to place him under arrest, he spun to face me and with a wild roar grabbed my throat in a vice-like grip. His thin, filthy fingers were topped with yellow talons and I’d felt this same manic-strength once before.

I had a flashback of a skinny white arm reaching across my shoulder to grab a slice of quiche at a barbeque in a friend’s back garden. My reflex reaction then had been to grab the arm, but that thin white arm, with a wrist that looked like one good twist could snap it, managed to knock my well-fed body onto its well-fed arse. The lad had then bounded from the garden, eating as he ran. He, too, had been a resident of Littlemore, the local mental institution that was in the process of being closed down.

Fergus threw me to the ground and, with his grip still choking me, tried to bite my face. I can still feel the shock of his spit hitting my eyeballs as we struggled on the urine-stained paving slabs of the dark alleyway. Two workmen in hard hats tried to haul him off, but Fergus’s strength was almost superhuman. All they could do was hold him clear of my throat and face. Freeing an arm, I managed to yell ‘ten-nine Debenhams’ into my radio, before Fergus knocked it from my hand with such force that the grey plastic block smashed and died.

            By now he was actually frothing at the mouth and, leaping to his feet, he knocked the two burly workmen backwards. Freeing himself of their feeble restraint, Fergus raised his bearded face to an invisible moon and howled at the afternoon sky. I crawled away from the distracted animal and while the workmen stood bravely blocking his escape from the alley in one direction, I and my pathetically small wooden truncheon, blocked his escape in the other. None of us wanted to take hold of him again.

            Fergus then collapsed to his knees as though he had been shot and, whimpering, started to bang his forehead on the pavement as though trying to shatter his own pain.

            I sighed with relief as a multitude of sirens closed in on the four of us, trapped so unexpectedly in this spectacle of broken humanity. Daniel was the first to reach Fergus, and his touch made Fergus roar again. It was as though human contact burned him, electrifying him into violence. It took six of us to carry him to the van and six of us to sit on his still-struggling frame as we made the short journey to the station. As we manhandled Fergus into the custody office, each of us tried desperately to avoid his snapping, rabid mouth as he was pushed face down onto the recently polished floor. We all sat on his writhing body with Daniel holding his hair, ensuring his head was turned to one side so that he could breathe, but keeping it in constant contact with the floor to avoid his spitting.

            It was a wonder that we didn’t suffocate him. Safe prisoner restraint was not something that had been considered at this time – it was every man or woman for themselves.

Fortunately, the police surgeon was already in custody for another prisoner, and diving into his case he quickly produced a syringe with a clear liquid that rendered Fergus compliant within seconds. I booked him in under Section One of the Mental Health Act as being a danger to both himself and the public.

When I came back from my meal break an hour later, Fergus had been released back into the community. To be more specific, he had been released into the care of his mental-health nurse – the one who had not seen him for the previous two weeks. I didn’t hold out much hope for either Fergus or the community.

Littlemore hospital was up-cycled. It once more provides a gated-community, but this one is made up of houses and apartments costing upwards of a quarter of a million pounds apiece.

Into the Valley_Author Image
Chris Clement-Green
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35836529-into-the-valley

 

#BlogTour Q&A #Extract #TheGreenBicycleMystery @ccjury @BookMachine @TheMirrorBooks

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The Green Bicycle Mystery – The Curious Death Of Bella Wright
by Antony M Brown

Synopsis:

A true crime mystery, a case unsolved for almost 90 years.

In the Summer of 1919, on a lonely lane in rural Leicestershire, a solitary bicycle lies on its side, its metal frame catching the glow of the fading evening light. Next to the bicycle, lying at an angle across the road, is the dead body of a young woman, her right hand almost touching the mudguard of the rear wheel. She was last seen with a man on a green bicycle, who seemingly vanishes into thin air.

Now dramatic new evidence is revealed for the first time, but does it solve the case or deepen the mystery? You decide.

The Green Bicycle Mystery is the first book in the Cold Case Jury Collection. Each one tells the story of an unsolved crime in an evocative and compelling way, it presents fresh evidence, exposes the strengths and weaknesses of past theories and then asks the reader to decide what happened.

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through the synopsis of your new book?

A) Actually, I’m writing a series of books about true crime mysteries. I’m interested in cold cases – historical, unsolved true crime – from the first half of the 20th century or earlier. My goal is to combine history with a real-life whodunit and take a different approach to writing true crime. First, I want to engage the reader directly. Rather than passively describing events I show the reader what happened – and what might have happened – through dramatic reconstruction, giving it a feel of novel. Second, I present some of the original evidence for the reader, like exhibits in a court. Thirdly, I invite the reader to deliver their verdict online on what they think might have happened, so the reader becomes part of the case, helping to bring it some closure. This is what the Cold Case Jury Collection is all about. The first in the collection is The Green Bicycle Mystery, about the unsolved shooting of Bella Wright in 1919.

It is a case that could have been taken from the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. A young woman is found dead by her bicycle in a lonely country lane. The only clue is that she was last seen with a man on a green bicycle, who seemingly vanishes into thin air… The case remains unsolved to this day. Now, dramatic evidence that has been hidden in a police safe for decades and the forgotten testimony of a key witness is being put before the Cold Case Jury.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) It began inside a classroom on the campus of Southampton University. This is where I attended ‘Telling True Stories’, a non-fiction workshop for writers run by author Iain Gately. One of Iain’s golden rules for writing is “2 and 2 not 4” – don’t spoon-feed the reader, let them work things out for themselves. At its most simplistic, if two people are joined by another couple, you don’t need to tell the reader that there are four people in the scene. This idea sank slowly into the depths of my sub-conscious: let the reader work it out for themselves. Why not write a series of books where readers are invited to deliver their verdicts on what happened in a cold case? But apply it to true crime, specifically unsolved murders from the past. This was important. We never totally suspend disbelief with a novel, reality often leaving a deeper impression than fiction.

I self-published four e-books, including The Green Bicycle Mystery, testing the concept of whether readers would deliver their verdicts online after reading an unsolved murder case in a book. It worked. I then approached some publishers and secured a publishing deal. In fact, I was offered contracts by two publishers but decided on Mirror Books. It’s easy to write in a few sentences but the whole process took over two years.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) My favourite author remains George Orwell. I discovered his books when I was at secondary school. I fell in love with his style of writing. For me good writing is like running water – clear and flows effortlessly.

Q) What were your childhood favourite reads?

A) The wildlife adventure novels by Willard Price. I was totally absorbed by the adventures of Hal and Roger as they collected wildlife for their father’s zoo. There were 13 books in total with titles including Amazon Adventure, South Sea Adventure and Whale Adventure. I still have them all.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) Receiving e-mails from readers. If actors love the sound of applause, writers cherish reading the words “a great read” – it makes everything worthwhile. For me, the purpose of publishing a book is to have your words and thoughts widely read, within the limits of the genre, and liked by readers. Your worst fear is that, despite the long journey from concept to publication, your book falls stillborn from the printing press, to quote the philosopher David Hume.

Q) Who has been your source of support throughout the writing process?

A) Undoubtedly, close family and friends. I would imagine it’s the same for most authors. In that respect, writing is no different from any aspect of life. Similarly, I learned a long time ago that success unshared is no success at all. It’s empty, unfulfilling. As the overwhelming majority of published books are not massive bestsellers, success is often getting published in the first place. Those close family and friends often take greater pride in seeing your book in the bookstore than you do. Experiencing that is the best reward – uplifting and enduring.

Visit www.coldcasejury.com for more information on The Green Bicycle Mystery and forthcoming books in the Cold Case Jury Collection. From this site, you can click on Antony’s blog, where you will find more of his thoughts on writing and publishing.

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.

AB
Antony M Brown
Authors Links:
Web: http://www.coldcasejury.com
Twitter: @ccjury
*The novel is interactive and upon finishing the novel, readers are invited to deliver their own verdicts and share their own theories on the web site above. Which I personally think is super cool!

Extract:

Extracts
11pm. The disused chapel at Stretton Parva was a small, rectangular red-brick building with a pitched roof. Looking more like a mundane outhouse than a place of worship, the only clue to its former role was a stone plaque engraved with the words “Free Chapel” embedded in a gable wall. It was a suitable place to keep the young woman’s body overnight.
As Dr Williams approached, he saw the gentle glow of candlelight issuing from its two sash windows. PC Hall was wheeling in the girl’s bicycle through the entrance to the right. He followed, closing the door behind him. In the centre of the room the men assembled around a table illuminated by four flickering candles. On it was sprawled the fully clothed body of the young woman. Cowell repeated to the doctor how he discovered the body. Hall informed him that he had inspected briefly both the body and the bicycle and had found nothing suspicious. Williams moved the woman’s head from side to side, feeling her skull and face, as if he was giving a macabre massage. “Extensive blood on the hair and the left side of her face,” Dr Williams announced, stating the obvious. “There’s also bruising on the left cheek just below the eye.” He motioned for a candle to be brought nearer to take a closer look. “Yes, it’s quite a vivid bruise, too.” “It seems to have an indentation in the skin,” Hall commented. “I can see that, Constable. She would sustain that by falling.” The cursory examination soon concluded. “I don’t think we can do any more for the poor girl,” Williams said. “What’s the cause of death, Doctor?” “Oh, I would say sudden haemorrhage and collapse, Constable.” “Can I report that to my superintendent?” “You certainly can. I really must be getting back,” he said, placing his hat on his head. “Goodnight, all.” Alfred Hall nodded as the doctor walked to the door. One by one, he bid the others goodnight until he was left alone. He straightened the body on the table and placed her arms on her chest. He wanted the young woman to have dignity in death.
Hall looked at the still body on the table. The skin of the right check had a waxy, yellow appearance with a tint of a bluish-grey, the same cold hue as her lips. The left cheek was covered in dried blood. He dampened the cloth and began to gently wash the dried blood from Bella’s face. Even in death, he thought, cleansing the face was an intimate and tender act, like a mother washing a child. Slowly moving the cloth down her cheek, he lifted the veil of blood that had partially covered Bella’s face since her death. And there, below her left eye, was a bullet wound…
On Friday 12 March, a rear wheel was recovered and matched to the green bicycle. It was not proof in itself but demonstrated that Light had dismantled the bicycle and dumped various parts over a wide section of the canal. Expectations were raised. They were met a week later when a brown leather army revolver holster was fished out. It contained treasure: wrapped inside were nearly two dozen .455 cartridges – the same calibre as the bullet found by PC Hall. When Light heard about the recovery he was reported to have cursed in his cell: “Damn and blast that canal!” If this is true, it was the only time he ever lost his composure.
“So what happened? I swear whatever you say will not leave this room.” “Come on, Superintendent, you know better than that.” “I know you didn’t murder her, so what happened? If you don’t tell the truth, everyone who ever hears about this case will think you’re guilty. You know that don’t you?” “But I was acquitted by a jury of my peers.” “They will still think you did it, all the same. They will say, ‘That Ronald Light, he got away with murder!’ Friends of mine said that very thing at the weekend.” Bowley waited for his words to sink in before playing his psychological ace. “Why not get this off your chest? Then you can forget all about it, knowing you’ve done the right thing by telling someone the truth. And you’ll feel better for doing it. After what you’ve been through, surely you owe yourself that?” Light leaned forward and tapped his cigarette over the ashtray. “If I tell you, can I depend on you to keep it to yourself?” Bowley tried hard not to show his delight at reeling in his catch. “I’ve already told you that.” “Whatever I say is strictly confidential. No one else must know. And I’m not signing anything. If you divulge what I tell you, I will just deny it.” “Of course, I understand. It’s just between the two of us.” Light leaned back in his chair and took a long draw from his cigarette as he played pensively with the box of matches. Bowley said nothing, hoping his ploy would work. When Light finally spoke there was no preamble, he simply dropped his bombshell…

*Continue to follow the #BlogTour with the fabulous Noelle over at CrimeBookJunkie.co.uk or via Twitter @nholten40