Sneak Preview Excerpt

An excerpt from the book “Season of Darkness”
To be published by Mcclelland and Stewart (August 2011)

© Maureen Jennings/The William Murdoch Corp.

. . . .The magistrate’s rumbly slightly neighing voice came over the line.

“Tyler. We’ve got a nasty incident on our hands, I need you to meet me on the Heath road right away.”

“What is it, sir?”

“I don’t know all the details yet but there’s been an accident. A woman. Two chaps on their way to the Prees camp found her. She’s dead apparently. One chappie has stayed at the location and the other came to fetch me.” He cleared his throat noisily. “Frankly, I could hardly make top nor tail of his story because he was as hysterical as a woman. Walker’s his name. You might know him.”

“Yes, I do.”

“He’s just a young fellow and as I understand it he’s suffering from shell shock which is why he’s been assigned to the camp and he’s not over there with our troops.”

“He was at Dunkirk, sir.”

“Oh that’s it, is it? I suppose we have to give all those fellows some lee way then don’t we? Bad show all round as I understand it.”

Tyler felt a rush of irritation at his tone of voice. The stupid sod must know that Jimmy had also been evacuated from Dunkirk.

“What did private Walker say, exactly, sir?”

“There’s no exactly about it. All I could get out of him was that a girl was dead on the side of the road. He was positively blathering about snipers and enemy action and so forth. Should have packed him off to the camp because he’s supposed to be on duty. Might have put a bit of steel in his back bone if he started acting more like a soldier. As it was I sent him home. Complete disintegration.”

Tyler had known Bobby Walker since he was a nipper. He and Jimmy had been together at Dunkirk, but unlike his son, who so far had refused to say a word, Bobby talked non-stop about what he’d gone through, lying on the beach for four days while the German Stukas dive bombed them. He’d seen one of their mates blown to pieces in front of him, his blood and shattered bones drenching Bobby. Yes, we should give them a bit of lee way, sir.

“Tyler?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Thought we had a broken connection there for a minute. The incident seems to have occurred a mile or so above Ash Magna. Not far from the crossroads. I’ll meet you there.”

“Has the victim been identified?”

“Walker seemed to know who she was but I didn’t catch the name. But she is, that is, she was, a member of the Women’s Land Army.”

Bloody hell. Tyler hoped it wasn’t one of the girls he’d seen yesterday.

“I’ll leave right away.”

They hung up and he called out to his wife.

“I’ve got to get going, Vera. I don’t know how long I’ll be.”

To be published by Mcclelland and Stewart (August 2011)
© Maureen Jennings/The William Murdoch Corp.