Murder in the House of Commons
A young Member of Parliament receives a mysterious e-mail whose content she doesnt entirely understand. Soon after, a member of the House of Commons is brutally murdered. It becomes apparent that the sender of the inexplicable e-mail and the murderer are one and the same. This is only the beginning of a gruesome series of murders. Each new, unwelcome e-mail names the next victim. A confusing game with dire consequences starts for the young politician, and without help from the dashing Chief Detective from Scotland Yard, she could end up the biggest loser...
Author: Donald O. Mahony
Illustration: istockphoto.com/Graeme Purdy
ca. 212 Pages
A thrilling detective story in which a murderer announces his acts with selected biblical quotes; with the main character being a female politician, without love scenes yet several dead persons.
9 male and 8 female roles
Main female character
Linda Moore, attorney and in her early thirties; the youngest MP in the London House of Commons; widowed for three years; her husband died in a car accident; has a daughter; attractive woman with long hair; her middle name is Joan, a name which Veracity uses; Veracity, a lunatic murderer, sends religious fanatic emails to her which announce the murder of MPs; in danger herself at the end, Paul saves her; finds Paul attractive and likable from the beginning; trusts and finally invites him for dinner as a token of appreciation; open end - not clear whether Linda and Paul have a future together.
Main male character
Paul Sutherton, Chief Detective from Scotland Yard; head of the police team which investigates the murder of the MPs; handsome, well-trained man in his mid-thirties; single, workaholic; allows himself only little leisure time; a good cook; attracted to Linda from the beginning; saves her and accepts her dinner invitation gladly.
Daughter of the main female character
Lily Moore, Linda’s five year old daughter; long curly hair; Paul gains her trust quickly.
Best friend of the main female character
Liz, Linda’s best friend since school days; paints pictures, writes poems and is in love; takes care of Lily when the police are concerned about the child's safety; lives in Plymouth; does not make a personal appearance.
Best friend of main male character
Brad Ramsey, Inspector from Scotland Yard and Paul’s best friend; knows Paul since their childhood days; married and has one child; convinced for a long time that Veracity could only be a man; competent police officer and likable guy.
Assistant of the main female character
Alan Fisher, Linda’s assistant; unimpressive young man; driven by the ambition to be an MP himself; provides a person posing as a journalist with some internal information about Linda.
Former friend of the main female character and fanatical murderer
Helen Stephens, an old school friend of Linda’s; works as a nurse; when she meets Linda after a few years, she seems to have changed a lot; religiously fanatical and at the end turns out to be Veracity; short dark hair, but fools the police with a blonde wig; shot by Paul at the end.
Superior of the main female character
Peter Earthone, chairman of the parliamentary group of the opposition party and therefore Linda’s superior, elderly man with grey hair; a smart and slippery politician who is not always kind to Linda; on Veracity’s death list; saved in the last minute.
Accomplice of the murderer
Tom Young, the main suspect since he is known to the police on account of radical activities and works as a caretaker at the House of Commons; his parents, both teachers, raised him in an anti-authoritarian and atheistic way; joined a religious group in later life, apparently as kind of revolution against his parents; was born in summer 1981; lean; dark hair; Veracity’s sidekick; when he is about to cave in, Veracity slays him and throws his dead body into the river Thames.
Dr Calvin Hurds, expert on written characters and wording; consulted by the police to interpret Veracity’s encoded messages; an elderly man with sparse hair and first signs of a paunch who wears spectacles.
Mrs Hunter, an experienced pathologist; very astute and highly esteemed by Paul; small; grey hair; small role.
Chief Constable Smith, on holiday at the time of the first murder; rotund and rather rough-and-ready; small role.
Mr Henry White, the first victim; died of thirst; is found bound up under a heap of banknotes; made money illegally in the construction industry; said to be a miser; seduced by Helen and offered her money for her silence.
Mr Cedric Miller, the second victim; thin, half-grey, half-black hair; his real name is Stuart Frank Taylor; one of the so-called dormant partners in a few brothels and casinos in London; poisoned with strychnine.
Mrs Agatha Dornland, the third victim; attractive and very popular fifty year old MP; has a son who is homosexual and suffers from Aids; very involved in the issue of rights of homosexuals, which is the reason why Veracity chooses her as victim; rescued in the last minute and survives with most severe injuries (broken limbs, gash on her belly); gives a key hint before falling into a coma for three days.
ExtractTuesday, 12 August, 15h00
Linda set off slowly. The engineer and his equipment had just arrived and had taken Linda’s seat in front of the computer. She was not looking forward to encountering Peter Earthone, the chairman of her parliamentary group and therefore the highest ranked MP of her political party in the House of Commons. However, she knew that she had to do it. Strictly speaking, she should already have informed him before the visit of the policeman. Instead, she intuitively called the station immediately after the connections between the emails and the murder had become clear to Alan and to her. She was admitting to herself now that her first impulse was quite selfish. She did not want to have anything to do with these horrifying things, she was frightened. Hence she wished secretly that the police would take the burden from her shoulders at once and then discharge her appreciatively. Nothing like that happened and Linda realised that she had fooled herself. This was a serious matter.
She could sense that Paul Sutherton took the emails just as seriously as she did. Nonetheless, his experienced actions had given her a sense of security for a short while. He left a nice impression and was not as old-fogeyish and stiff as she imagined an officer from Scotland Yard. On the contrary, with his well trained body and his dark clothes, she would have rather thought him an FBI agent of an American movie. An involuntary smile came to her lips. But when she reached Mr Earthone's office door, the gravity of the situation came to her mind again and her smile faded.
All right then – go in and win! She had made an appointment by phone and was therefore expected by the chairman. The two secretaries beckoned her into the room. "He doesn't have much time," the older of the two urged her.
That’s about to change, Linda thought, troubled.
"How do you do, Mrs Moore?" Earthone leaned against the window and combed his hair whilst his assistant adjusted his tie. Linda nearly burst out laughing in the light of this absurd situation. "What’s the matter? I have to go to a press conference about White's death in a few minutes."
"That's why I'm here." She cleared her throat and her voice sounded more confident. "A policeman has just visited me and I spoke to him about the murder."
"Why?" Earthone raised his eyebrows, surprised and annoyed at the same time, "What did you have to say to the police? You know that you are supposed to discuss every kind of conversation within the scope of your function with me or my deputy beforehand."
Linda ignored the reproach, "Please read this, someone sent it to me a few days ago. It's most likely that the sender is White's murderer." She gave him the sheet of paper which she had taken along. Earthone put the comb aside while his assistant retreated a few steps. As his eyes went through the text his lips turned pale. Linda observed him closely.
"Sit down!" he requested finally and took a seat on his armchair behind his big desk. "Please notify everybody that I will be about ten minutes late." Moving his hand he shooed his assistant out of the room. Ten minutes? Linda nearly cried out. Here was the letter of a killer and he gave her ten minutes? Yet his intense facial expression showed her that he took the matter seriously.
"We can’t allow that anything of the matter leaks out." He spoke in nearly the same tone as the policeman earlier, "Especially when during the silly season the press lurks for every possible sensation."
Although Linda agreed with him in principle, something in his voice bothered her, "Don't you think that the highest priority is to catch this criminal and to prevent possible future murder?”
"Of course." Earthone was tactful enough to give in, “We definitely don't want to make the work difficult for the police in any way. You did the right thing by informing them immediately. However, also keep in mind the surveys carried out in public. You know that we've lost a few percentage points in voter support over the last months despite exposing the corrupt activities of a few ministers. The tax breaks introduced by the government are to blame. If we want to win the elections in six months time, these letters are never to come to light. Just imagine – an opposition politician is linked to the murder of an MP of the governing party!"
Linda cringed. She had not considered these circumstances so seriously up to that point. Yet the experienced politician, a strategist, who was sitting opposite her, might be right after all. Some of the tabloids as well as some of the traditional papers were very pro-government and had a large readership. Moreover, at present, the topics of conversation and maybe even the opinions of the people were dictated by the media.
"How should we proceed?" She put the question to her chairman without lowering her gaze. Grovelling behaviour was not part of her character and she did not want to display it now. There was a reason she had accomplished her current position.
"For now we wait and see. You’ll keep me in the loop and if you should receive another email, inform me immediately. If Veracity in fact announces another murder, we maybe have to call an emergency meeting at which we will discuss our future strategy. However, let's hope for now that this will never happen."
With this last sentence, Linda understood she was dismissed. She did not believe for one moment that he seriously hoped nothing more would happen. He had to prepare himself for every possibility; as a chairperson of a parliamentary group and deputy party leader he could not take it as it came. Linda assumed that he would discuss the matter with his closest staff members in the next couple of hours but that she would not be involved.
Why? When she left the room she felt slightly hurt. Her career progression had gone so well up to then. Why did he just rebuff and dismiss her? Maybe she was merely imagining things. Her nerves were all on edge and she felt like the protagonist of a cheap detective story. She would finally do what she had wanted to do for hours since she was not able to work anyway. She would go home and make sure that her little daughter was alright.
Alan nodded at her reassuringly. He looked into her tired face and did not even have to ask how her meeting with Earthone went.
"I’ll hold the fort for the next couple of hours and attend to the routine work," he promised. “Just go to Lily and even have a nap! Would you like me to check your emails?"
"Thanks, but that's not necessary," Linda said. She did not want to burden him even more.
After all, it was not Alan's fault that Veracity had chosen her as the recipient of the bewildering words, "I can check my emails from home and will do it every hour. I'm taking the number of the police guy." She picked up the business card and put it in her bag, "See you tomorrow."
Tuesday, 12 August, 17h00
The post-mortem went off routinely and quickly. Paul was relieved. The senior pathologist confirmed the cause of death. White died of thirst. In all probability, the death occurred in the night between Sunday and Monday. Except for a high dosage of sedative found in White's blood, nothing noteworthy came to light.
Paul did not have any feeling of revulsion when he saw the knives cutting the body of the deceased, the scalpels and the scales on which the organs were placed one after the other. He had already been present at such proceedings too many times. White had looked peaceful. The slight cuts at the wrists and ankles caused by the fetters were the only visible sign of external forces. The dosage of sedative was so high that it could be assumed White was drowsy, more or less unconscious in the last hours or days. That would explain why no one heard any screaming – if in fact White spent his last ten days in the tight cabin of his yacht. That is what Paul assumed in the meantime.
Paul left after a short phone call with Dr Hurds who had already read the text and was on his way to their meeting.
When he reached his destination, most people had arrived.
During the morning Paul had quickly rounded up a team consisting of eight specialists to handle the White case. The room was small, the plastering flaking off the walls and the table rickety.
The chairs were too few and the people who came after Paul had to get chairs from the neighbouring rooms.
Brad groaned, "Why most people still associate Scotland Yard with excitement and an almost aristocratic elegance is beyond my understanding. Just one day in this dump and all their illusions would fly out the window."
His comments were met with unanimous approval. Paul, however, interrupted their low-voiced conversation with a short gesture.
"Let's talk about the case." His voice was serious and resolute, "To begin with, I would like for Brad to summarise the events of last night again. If someone has to make any important addition, please indicate by raising your hand.”
During Brad's report Paul looked around. The tension in the room was so thick one could almost cut it with a knife. Only Dr Hurds, an elderly man with sparse hair and first signs of a paunch, settled back in his chair with his eyes half-closed behind his spectacles. However, Paul knew that the scientist was all ears. The two youngest team members only joined Scotland Yard a few months ago straight after having completed their detective studies. They were visibly the keenest listeners. Paul could not see any sign of fatigue on them and he envied their smooth and perfectly shaved faces. After Brad had finished his report and no further additions had been made, he rose to speak again.
"What results did your enquiries during the course of the day reveal?"
His colleagues reported one after the other.
Frequency of appearance
We have summarised all personalisation options for this book here. We also listed the Frequency of appearance for the respective details. You do not need to fill in all options – you can also use the defaults.
|Main female character|
|The first name of the heroine is||257 x|
|The surname of the heroine is||49 x|
|The hair colour of the heroine is||17 x|
|The eye colour of the heroine is||2 x|
|The favourite colour of the heroine is||3 x|
|Main male character|
|The first name of the Chief Detective is||475 x|
|The surname of the Chief Detective is||17 x|
|The hair colour of the Chief Detective is||1 x|
|The eye colour of the Chief Detective is||3 x|
|The favourite colour of the Chief Detective is||1 x|
|The make of his car is||3 x|
|Daughter of the main female character|
|The first name of the daughter is||44 x|
|Best friend of the main female character|
|The first name of the main female character’s best friend is||10 x|
|Best friend of main male character|
|The first name of the main male character’s best friend is||169 x|
|The surname of the main male character’s best friend is||1 x|
|Assistant of the main female character|
|The first name of the assistant (male) is||38 x|
|The surname of the assistant (male) is||4 x|
|Former friend of the main female character and fanatical murderer|
|The first name of the murderer (female) is||81 x|
|The surname of the murderer (female) is||4 x|
|Superior of the main female character|
|The first name of the superior (male) is||4 x|
|The surname of the superior (male) is||39 x|
|Accomplice of the murderer|
|The first name of the accomplice (male) is||58 x|
|The surname of the accomplice (male) is||30 x|
|The first name of the expert (male) is||1 x|
|The surname of the expert (male) is||20 x|
|The surname of the female pathologist is||5 x|
|The surname of the Chief Constable (male) is||9 x|
|The first name of the first victim (male) is||8 x|
|The surname of the first victim (male) is||70 x|
|The first name of the second victim (male) is||6 x|
|The surname of the second victim (male) is||57 x|
|The first name of the third victim (female) is||1 x|
|The surname of the third victim (female) is||37 x|
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