The jagged blast of high explosives rips through the evening air. In the sky over East London the searchlights criss-cross in search of the enemy.
On the first night of the Blitz, a corpse is discovered in a van in the back streets of West Ham. Detective Inspector John Jago recognizes the dead man as local Justice of the Peace Charles Villiers. But then a German bomb obliterates all evidence.
Villiers was not a popular man, both powerful and feared. As the sirens wail, the detective must start matching motive to opportunity – and it doesn’t help when his boss foists an intrusive American journalist on him.
Jago soon discovers the dead man held many secrets, some reaching back to World War I. A lot of people wished Villiers dead – and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder.
The neat row of small, late-Victorian terraced houses was punctuated by a gaping space: homes reduced to rubble in the night raid.
Amongst the debris the body of a young, red-headed woman is found. But she has no connection to the houses or the street, nor can her identity be established. Nor was it the bomb that killed her.
When the post-mortem reveals death by strangling, DI Jago is called on to investigate. He quickly establishes that the body is that of Mary Watkins, a seemingly respectable employee of a local engineering company.
But the company is missing important chemicals, and few seem to really care about the death of Mary – not even her family. Was the young woman all she appeared to be? As Jago digs deeper he starts to uncover a trail of deception, betrayal, and romantic entanglements…
Fifty people squashed into a stinking public air-raid shelter all night – babies screaming, old ladies crying, no beds, not even a light to see by.
When the all-clear siren sounds, people disperse to home and work. But one man remains. He’s Paul Ramsey, a young teacher, and he’s dead – stabbed through the heart.
DI Jago quickly establishes that the victim was a pacifist, desperate to avoid military service. Why, then, was he carrying a loaded revolver in his pocket?
Did he have enemies? Was he intent on harming someone – or even himself? Jago discovers that Paul isn’t the only pacifist whose convictions have been challenged. For some, anger and violence lie just below the surface. And despite Ramsey’s moral stance, it seems there were dark shadows in his life. In fact, more than one person might have had a motive for murder…
Flames leap skyward from a blitzed factory in West Ham as an air raid destroys all in its path.
When the blaze threatens neighbouring houses a volunteer fireman breaks in to rescue a trapped resident – but instead finds only the body of a young woman, strangled in her bedroom.
For Detective Inspector John Jago the scene brings back memories of the Soho Strangler. He suspects this woman had a secret – that she is not what she seems – and that this may be the root of her untimely end.
Investigation reveals a drunken sailor may hold the key to what happened in Joan Lewis’s flat. But his information points Jago towards family jealousies, violence, robbery, and the underworld of political terrorism. Was Joan as innocent as her friends claim, or was she mixed up in crime? Jago must unpick multifarious motives if he hopes to reach the truth.