Monday 6 August 2012

#OBSummer #Books - Ford 99 - Murder at the Rocks

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Genre - Murder Mystery
Rating - G
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‘I’ll see to Mr Bentham first thing in the morning.’

Fitzjohn remained after Betts and the other officers left, lingering as he usually did at the end of each day. It served to minimise the length of time he spent at home alone, a time when Edith crept into his thoughts, magnifying how much he missed their life together. He rose from his chair and went to the window where he looked down onto the street below, deserted for the most part, its wet pavement glistening under the street lights.

‘Alistair?’ Fitzjohn turned to see Reginald Fellowes in the doorway. ‘I thought you’d still be here. How did you get on today?’ Fitzjohn walked back to his desk and gestured for Fellowes to sit down.

‘Well, the exact cause of death has still to be determined, sir.’

‘Oh? Why the hold up?’

Because other than sustaining several knife wounds to the chest and a fall down a flight of stairs, Laurence Harford had also been physically attacked that afternoon.’

‘But a suspicious death nonetheless.’


‘Any thoughts as to the reason for the killing?’

‘Several as it turns out.’

‘It seems Laurence Harford planned to contest his brother’s will, and if successful, disinheriting his nephew. There’s also a matter of his affair with the wife of one of Brayshaw’s employees.’ Fellowes eyebrows rose as Fitzjohn recounted the day’s events.

When he had finished, Fellowes shook his head. ‘Try to keep the more sordid details out of the media, Alistair.’

By p. 99 of my novel MURDER AT THE ROCKS Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn, a widower who tends his late wife’s orchids, has been asked by his superior, Chief Superintendent Fellowes, to investigate the suspicious death of Laurence Harford, a diamond merchant and philanthropist.  The very fact that Fitzjohn is on the case becomes a bone of contention between Fitzjohn and his nemesis Superintendent Grieg.  Rather than being put off by this fact, however, it only fuels Fitzjohn’s enthusiasm and he throws himself into the case.  Among Fitzjohn’s suspects is Harford’s nephew, Nicholas who will not only inherit the family fortune, but is known to have argued with his uncle only hours before Laurence’s untimely death.

On p. 99 Grieving for his late wife, Edith, Fitzjohn lingers in his office at the end of the day in an attempt to delay returning home and being reminded of his loss.  Aware of this practice, Chief Superintendent Fellowes, chooses to speak to Fitzjohn at this late hour about his progress in the case so far.  And he is not disappointed because Fitzjohn is more than happy to keep his mind on his work.  He explains to Fellowes that although Laurence Harford’s death is suspicious, findings on the reason for his death are delayed because it has to be determined whether he died from stab wounds or whether a physical attack that afternoon had contributed.

Fitzjohn also explains that there is more than one reason that Laurence was murdered including the fact that Laurence planned to contest his brother’s will not to mention Laurence’s affair with the wife of one of his employees.

Knowing Laurence Harford is a person who moved in the upper echelons of society, Fellowes, wanting to avoid a scandal, asks Fitzjohn to try and keep the details of that affair out of the media.

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