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The Book Of Death

A long forgotten book conceals a dangerous secret.

James Faraday is about to turn eighty and his daughter has organised a gathering of friends and family at Woodford Grange to celebrate the big day. There will be a marquee in the garden, plenty of food and drink, and a huge stack of birthday presents. One particular gift, however, is proving difficult to track down.

For Simon Turing, who works in the local bookshop, it is just another order; an out of print book of wartime statistics. It only takes a day or two for him to locate a copy.

As soon as the book arrives, however, things start to go awry. The shop is burgled. Simon is knocked off his bike on his way to the Grange. And a worker at the estate suffers a fatal accident. Is it just a run of bad luck or are more sinister forces at work?

Simon is about to find out.

The Bonfire Night Massacre

The corpse was snoring softly behind the sofa.

It is early November and the Wynmouth Fire Festival is in full flow. A dozen or more giant statues are about to be put to the torch. The locals jokingly refer to it as “the Bonfire Night Massacre”. Fireworks and bonfires are the order of the day, and Simon Turing is looking forward to seeing the display..

He is in town performing at a local theatre, a revival of a fifties mystery play. All is not well at the venue, however. The theatre is in financial trouble and there are tensions backstage. The management needs a good box office if the theatre is to survive the winter. Luckily, the fire festival is a significant draw to the town. But when the theatre’s own contribution to the festivities erupts into flames a couple of days earlier than planned, it does not bode well for the rest of the run.

  Costa Del Corpse

  Whatever you do, don't eat the paella!

Simon Turing is on holiday in southern Spain and things are not going at all well. The hire car breaks down on the way from the airport and, while phoning for help, Simon hears a cry of distress from a nearby orange grove.

He arrives to find a man lying dead in a ditch. By the time the authorities arrive, however, the body has disappeared. The police think Simon must have disturbed a tramp who scarpered when he went to call for an ambulance. Either that or he is suffering from sunstroke. But Simon knows a dead body when he sees one.

Worse is to come when he and his girlfriend arrive at the villa of a family friend. All is not well in the Franklin household. Could somebody here have had something to do with the body in the ditch? And could a member of the family be about to suffer a similar fate?

The Scandal At Bletchley

"I've been a scoundrel, a thief, a blackmailer and a whore, but never a murderer. Until now..."

The year is 1929. As the world teeters on the brink of a global recession, Bletchley Park plays host to a rather special event. MI5 is celebrating its twentieth anniversary and a select band of former and current employees are gathering for a weekend of music, dance and heavy drinking. Among them is Sir Hilary Manningham-Butler, a middle aged woman whose entire adult life has been spent masquerading as a man. She doesn’t know why she has been invited – it is many years since she left the secret service – but it is clear she is not the only one with things to hide. And when one of the other guests threatens to expose her secret, the consequences could prove disastrous for everyone.

The Red Zeppelin

"You'll never get me up in one of those things. They're absolutely lethal..."

Seville, 1931. Six months after the loss of the British airship the R101, a German Zeppelin is coming in to land in Southern Spain.

Hilary Manningham-Butler is an MI5 operative eking out a pitiful existence on the Rock of Gibraltar. The offer of a job in the Americas provides a potential lifeline but there are strings attached. First she must prove her mettle to her masters in London and that means stepping on board the Richthofen before the airship leaves Seville.

A cache of secret documents has been stolen from Scotland Yard and the files must be recovered if British security is not to be severely compromised. Hilary must put her life on the line to discover the identity of the thief. But as the airship makes its way across the Atlantic towards Brazil it becomes clear that nobody on board is quite what they seem. And there is no guarantee that any of them will reach Rio de Janeiro alive...

The Devil's Brew

"Your predecessor was sitting in that chair when he shot himself. You can still see the bloodstains on the wall behind you."

Central America, 1931. Hilary Manningham-Butler is settling into her new job as passport control officer at the British legation in Guatemala City. Her predecessor Giles Markham is dead, having embezzled a large sum of money from the office’s visa receipts and then taken his own life. Freddie Reeves, a friend at the legation, believes there is more to his death than suicide. The weekend before he died, Markham spent some time at a remote coffee plantation in the north central highlands. Freddie knows the owner of the plantation and invites Hilary to accompany him there for the weekend, in the hope that she might be able to discover the truth. Hilary has no intention of getting involved, but when a house guest dies in suspicious circumstances it becomes clear that she will not be given the choice.

A Poison Of Passengers

"It's a bomb!" some fat idiot yelled, as I was heading for the exit. "They've found a bomb!"

New York 1932. A letter bomb campaign throws the city into a panic and Hilary Manningham-Butler is anxious to get away. The RMS Galitia is setting sail for Southampton, but there will be no respite on board ship. Another campaign is in the offing, less explosive but equally deadly. A series of anonymous letters are being distributed across the decks. Someone knows far too much about the passengers in first class and venom is spewing in every direction. It will not be long before that venom spills over into violence and murder…

  Hurrah For Hilary!

“Hurrah for the Blackshirts!” the headline screams on 15th January 1934.

Hilary Manningham-Butler is less than impressed. She has inveigled her way into the January Club, an elite debating society which acts as a recruiting ground for the newly formed British Union of Fascists. The Security Service is concerned that the BUF may be receiving funds from a foreign power. Using her newly acquired contacts, Hilary is despatched to Rome to investigate. Arriving at the villa of a fellow club member, events take a sinister turn when one of the house guests meets with an unfortunate accident. Hilary is not convinced that the death is accidental and the Italian police are quick to come to the same conclusion. But can a police force in the pay of a fascist administration ever be relied upon to deliver justice?

The Stiletto

His dad was a legend. He doesn't have a clue.

Everyone has heard of the Stiletto, the infamous assassin who strikes without warning. He has been running rings around the police for years. But nobody has the slightest idea who he really is.

Eric Primrose has more important concerns. He is about to get married and there is a baby on the way. A chance meeting with his dad up in London puts a spanner in the works, however, when his father accidentally chokes to death on an olive. Jonathan Primrose, it transpires, is not the dull businessman Eric has always believed him to be. In fact, he is the Stiletto and his premature death has wrong-footed a whole host of sinister forces. The veteran hit man was midway through an assignment and it looks like Eric may have to step in and complete the job.

Someone has mistaken him for his father and, unless Eric does exactly as he is told, he may never see his fiancée or his unborn child again….

The Gunpowder Treason

"A dangerous disease requires a desperate remedy…"

Robert Catesby is a man in despair. His wife is dead and his country is under siege. A new king presents a new hope but the persecution of Catholics in England continues unabated and Catesby can tolerate it no longer. King James bears responsibility but the whole government must be eradicated if anything is to really change. And Catesby has a plan...

The Gunpowder Treason is a fast-paced historical thriller. Every character is based on a real person and almost every scene is derived from eye-witness accounts. This is the story of the Gunpowder Plot, as told by the people who were there...

The Pineapple Republic

Democracy is coming to the Central American Republic of San Doloroso. But it won't be staying long...

The year is 1990. Ace reporter Daniel Parr has been injured in a freak surfing accident, just as the provisional government of San Doloroso has announced the country's first democratic elections.

The Daily Herald needs a man on the spot and in desperation they turn to Patrick Malone, a feckless junior reporter who just happens to speak a few words of Spanish.

Despatched to Central America to get the inside story, our Man in Toronja finds himself at the mercy of a corrupt and brutal administration that is determined to win the election at any cost...

Murder At Flaxton Isle

A remote Scottish island plays host to a deadly reunion...

It should be a lot of fun, meeting up for a long weekend in a rented lighthouse on a chunk of rock miles from anywhere. There will be drinks and games and all sorts of other amusements. It is ten years since the last get-together and twenty years since Nadia and her friends graduated from university. But not everything goes according to plan. One of the group has a more sinister agenda and, as events begin to spiral out of control, it becomes clear that not everyone will get off the island alive...

The Wilkerson Farm Murders

A blizzard, a farmhouse and a family at war..

Giles and Marion Wilkerson are celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They have recently moved to France and it seems like the perfect excuse to invite a few friends and family over. Vicki Wilkerson, their daughter, has been once before, but this time she is bringing a friend; her new fiancé Akash. Her father does not approve. When Vicki’s brother also arrives uninvited the situation takes a turn for the worse. Giles and Robbie have not spoken for years. Tensions begin to rise; and not just among the family. Some of their old friends also have scores to settle. With the phone lines down, heavy snow on the way and no mobile signal to be had, it looks like they will be staying at the farm for far longer than anyone anticipated. And it won't be long before bad feeling spills over into violence and murder.



All material copyright Jack Treby 2023