Some people are just rotten to the core.
Acting DCI Beatrice Stubbs is representing Scotland Yard at a police conference in Portugal. Her task is to investigate a rumour – a ghostwritten exposé of European intelligence agencies – and discover who is behind such a book.
Hardly a dangerous assignment, so she invites family and friends for a holiday. Days at the conference and evenings at the villa should be the perfect work-life balance. Until one of her colleagues is murdered.
An eclectic alliance of international detectives forms to find the assassin. But are they really on the same side?
Meanwhile, tensions rise at the holiday villa. A clash of egos sours the atmosphere and when a five-year-old child disappears, their idyll turns hellish.
From Lisbon streets to the quays of Porto, Parisian cafés to the green mountains of Gerês, Beatrice realises trust can be a fatal mistake.
“Murder at a crime conference, family fireworks and all the ingredients for a rollercoaster adventure.” – Francis Guenette, author of The Crater Lake Series
Sorry to hear about the break-up. But I’m sure you won’t be single for long. Plenty more fish in the Superstore. You’d love it here. Very bike-friendly place and pavements completely free of chewing-gum. I’m sitting on a bench by the lake, gnawing on a sausage and throwing bits of bread to the ducks. Unspeakably beautiful but I do miss home.
Lots of love
The Porsche thundered through the trees. Belanov steered with his left hand, allowing his right, complete with TAG Heuer, to rest on the gearstick. Her colour was high and he could sense her exhilaration. He allowed the vehicle a four-wheel slide as they arrived at the cabin.
“OK, Ms McKendrick. I’ll be five minutes. Would you like me to leave the music on for you?”
“You know what? I think I might be safe enough to come in while you get your stuff. Apart from anything else, I could use the bathroom.”
Belanov repressed a grin and bowed like a gentleman as he opened the passenger door and offered his arm. He ran through his list. White wine and snacks in fridge, vodka in freezer. Fire laid, clean sheets, camera charged. And in the bedside drawer, a high-quality twist of cocaine. Czech.
Appellation: DOQ Rioja
Blend: 50% Tempranillo, 40% Garnacha. 10% Mazuelo
Ageing: 16 months in 100% French Allier oak
Age of vines: 50-60 years
Very dark garnet colour, almost purple. Intense early nose of boot polish lifting to potent blend of incense, lavender and smoked meat. Initial dark fruits in the mouth give way to toasty round tannins in the middle and a high-toned black plum finish. Drink now, or cellar several cases to enjoy over the next decade. (Score: 92/100)