There’s been a murder. And the only suspect has vanished.
Even his own brother, DI Barney Mains, thinks he’s guilty.
But when the missing man’s teenage daughter begs Barney to help, he has no choice. And before long he starts to question whether the criminal brother he hasn’t seen for ten years could actually be innocent this time. It’s just that everyone seems to be in an all-fired hurry to pin the killing on him. Despite there being a pair of highly visible alternative candidates – a tall ex-army type and a sidekick built like a tank. The trail leads Barney to the South of France and the gated world of the super-rich.
For only there will he discover whether his brother is a killer on the run. Or the next victim…
On the flight to Edinburgh that evening, he was relieved that their seats were far apart. No need for conversation. No chance that he could let slip what his young former colleague Ffiona McLuskey had told him when he’d called her from the privacy of his rented studio flat.
Ffiona, already promoted to Detective Sergeant, was one of the force’s high-flyers and was never going to completely spill the beans over the phone. But they’d forged a close friendship the previous summer during the Shona Gladstone case.
It was that investigation – or rather the political interference that ended it – which had so scunnered Barney that he resigned on the spot and refused to go home.
He had learned to trust Ffiona’s judgement however and she too reckoned that he should return to Scotland as soon as possible.
Without going into details, she said there was compelling evidence against his brother – beyond the facts reported in the press. She also needed to interview Barney. And he in turn needed to do something about his father, who’d been creating mayhem at police HQ, refusing to leave until he got some answers. Officers had no choice but to lock him up until he cooled down.
Barney’s mood darkened as he gazed blankly from his window seat into the deepening night, the events of the summer telescoping into the uncertain present.
Had he been living a fantasy these last six months? Was he about to be kicked in the teeth by harsh reality; be shown the error of his misguided ways and get sucked back into real life in Scotland?
Maybe things had changed. Maybe self-serving careerists and accountants no longer ruled the roost in Police Scotland. ‘Aye, maybe,’ he muttered out loud, not believing a word of it.
Besides, all he needed to worry about right now was his father, who appeared to be losing the plot. And his brother, the murderer.
About the Author
Jim McGhee’s a former award-winning environmental journalist. Based in East Lothian, near Edinburgh, Scotland, he spends much of each year (in normal times) in the South of France, the main setting for the DI Barney Mains series, with tolerant wife Jean and rampant Irish Terrier, Jack. After a full-on career as a campaigning newspaper reporter, he and Jean launched their own recruitment company in central Edinburgh and for twelve fun-packed years worked closely together alongside their brilliant team – without spilling a single drop of blood. The Alpes-Maritimes and Var departments, on the other hand, have provided a host of dramatic locations just perfect as inspiration for the odd spot of fictional gore. Locals, blessed with scenery ranging from unspoiled mountain villages to the classic palms-and-marinas coast, claim that they can be swimming one moment and skiing a little over an hour later. Though when not writing or travelling en famille, Jim’s more likely to be off on a hike in the hills with his ever-ready buddy, Jack.