Title: Man of Sorrows An Inspector Carlyle Mystery
Author: James Craig
Series: Inspector Carlyle #6
Release Date: March 24, 2015
List Price: 2.99 USD
Imprint: Witness Impulse
It's time for confession …
Inspector Carlyle is burning the candle at both ends. While investigating a priest who has engaged in less-than-pious activities, Carlyle comes head-to-head with an old adversary—Christian Holyrod, the Mayor of London. The mayor is hosting an upcoming visit from the pope and is determined to keep any scandals involving the Catholic Church out of the public eye. But Carlyle, never one to let bad behavior go unpunished, faces off against church and state.
Throw in an armed robbery at a high-end jewelry store—and a traumatic event involving Carlyle's wife—and the inspector is in way over his head. With so many forces working against him, will Carlyle bring the truth to the surface, or will he drown in the unstoppable current of lies and corruption?
‘Are you happy?’
‘Are you happy?’ Helen Kennedy repeated. She lowered her copy of the Independent and shot an enquiring look at her husband. They were sitting in a branch of EAT, one of the dozens of café chains in London, this one situated at the top end of Kingsway, across the road from Holborn tube station. Taking a white cup from the table, she took a sip of green tea and allowed herself the smallest sigh of pleasure.
The two of them were enjoying a rare breakfast together before the working day got started in earnest. Gazing out of the window at a woman walking down the street with a miniature Schnauzer dog under her arm, Inspector John Carlyle – aka Mr Kennedy, insofar as Helen had never taken his surname – wondered how best to answer what was obviously some kind of trick question.
‘Of course,’ he said finally. Taking a cautious sip of his own green tea – citing unspecified health reasons, Helen was trying to wean him off coffee – he smiled at his wife, looking for a sign that he had come up with the right answer.
Not really interested in his reply, Helen stuck her head back in the paper. ‘The Prime Minister,’ she explained, adopting the scornful tone reserved for politicians and other dullards, ‘yesterday launched his “happiness index”.’
Outside, a couple of police cars roared past, heading south, sirens blaring.
‘Nothing to do with me,’ Carlyle shrugged, when she automatically looked at him. ‘That’s why I’m so bloody happy.’ He took another sip of his tea; to his surprise he was getting quite into it. It was unlikely that it would lead to him cutting his relentless coffee intake by much, but it was a start. ‘Ecstatic, in fact.’
‘I’m sure the PM would be delighted to hear that.’
‘Edgar Carlton.’ Carlyle shook his head as he finished his tea. As an inspector in the Metropolitan Police, he had once dealt with the super-slippery Carlton and his ‘chumocracy’ cohorts in a professional capacity. ‘What an over-privileged, under-achieving idiot!’
An elderly woman at the next table glowered at him from behind her copy of the Daily Mail. Returning the scowl with interest, Carlyle caught sight of the rag’s front page. Princess Diana was back from the dead.
Why don’t all these stupid people just fuck off back to the Home Counties? he fulminated. And leave London to people who can appreciate it. Not for the first time, he wondered why no one had ever set up a London Independence Party. He would vote for it in a shot. London for Londoners – which included all the Scots, all the Poles, all the French . . . all the people who came here to get away from the fucking idiots in their own countries. Maybe even the odd Englishman, here and there.
Helen interrupted the political ranting in his head. ‘ “From next month”,’ she continued, carefully enunciating each word in her best mock BBC English as if she was having a trial for Radio 4, ‘ “the Office for National Statistics will try to measure a range of key areas that are thought to matter most to people’s wellbeing”.’
‘Shoot some fucking politicians, for a start,’ Carlyle snorted louder than was absolutely necessary, largely for the benefit of Daily Mail Woman. ‘That would make everyone happy.’
Regarding him as the troublesome child that he was, Helen continued serenely, ‘ “Such as health, education, inequalities in income and the environment”.’
‘What a load of old bollocks,’ Carlyle harrumphed. He was now resigned to working himself up into an indignant frenzy; any wellbeing that he had been enjoying now not even a distant memory. ‘How can you measure bloody happiness?’
Helen sipped her tea demurely. ‘Mr Carlton said, and I quote: “I think this debate will help us think more carefully about how we are affecting the quality of people’s lives”.’
‘And I think that this kind of moronic pseudo-debate,’ Carlyle hissed, ‘is the sort of crap that bloody politicians spout instead of doing any work.’
The world was spared any more of the inspector’s refined views by his mobile going off in the breast pocket of his jacket. Grabbing the phone, he peered at the screen. It took a moment for the numbers to come into focus so that he could see that the call was from his sergeant. I really should go and get my eyes tested, he thought as he answered it.
‘Where are you?’ Alison Roche rarely bothered with pleasantries. It was something they had in common and one of the many reasons he liked her.
‘Near Holborn tube,’ Carlyle explained. ‘Why? Where am I supposed to be?’
‘I’m at the north end of the Strand underpass,’ said Roche, ignoring the question. ‘You’d better get down here.’
‘Sure.’ Given that he was barely a minute away from her location, Carlyle didn’t bother to ask why. Ending the call, he dropped the phone back into his pocket. Standing up, he stepped round the table and kissed Helen on the top of the head.
‘Sorry. Looks like something’s going on. Need to run.’
James Craig has lived in London for more than thirty years, working as a journalist and consultant.
He lives in Bloomsbury with his wife and daughter.
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