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Authors: Cath Staincliffe

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #Traditional, #Women Sleuths

Blue Murder

BOOK: Blue Murder
7.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One




Cath Staincliffe is an established novelist, radio playwright and the creator of ITV's hit series,
Blue Murder
, starring Caroline Quentin as DCI Janine Lewis, which attracted an audience of 8.4 million viewers. Cath’s books have been short-listed for the Crime Writers Association Best First Novel award and for the Dagger in the Library.
Looking For Trouble
launched private eye Sal Kilkenny, a single parent struggling to juggle work and home, onto Manchester’s mean streets.
Crying Out Loud
is the eighth and latest title in the series. Cath’s newest novels,
Split Second
examine hot topical issues and tell stories of ordinary people, caught up in the criminal justice system, who face difficult and dangerous choices. Cath writes the Scott & Bailey novels based on the popular ITV1 series. She lives in Manchester with her partner and their children. Cath is a founder member of Murder Squad see

on Twitter.



This eBook edition published in 2012 by the author.

Cover photo and design by Tim Preston.


First published in 2004 by Allison & Busby Limited, Bon Marche Centre, 241 Ferndale Road, Brixton, London SW9 8BJ


Copyright © Cath Staincliffe 2004


The right of Cath Staincliffe to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed upon the subsequent purchaser.


All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.




Other titles by Cath Staincliffe


Split Second


The Kindest Thing




Scott & Bailey Novels

Dead To Me


Blue Murder Novels

Blue Murder: Cry Me A River

Hit & Run


Sal Kilkenny Novels

Crying Out Loud


Bitter Blue

Towers Of Silence

Stone Cold Red Hot

Dead Wrong

Go Not Gently

Looking For Trouble






Adapting a book for television, and then back again, means many people helped shape this story. Special thanks to Carolyn Reynolds at Granada TV for the amazing opportunity and for encouraging me to write my first script and to Jane Macnaught for helping me through unfamiliar territory. For advice on police matters thanks to Inspector Roger Forsdyke, Inspector Peter N. Walker (Retd.) and Detective Superintendent Patsy Wood. Thanks to the cast of Blue Murder who made the characters theirs – and then some. A toast to Ann Cleeves from Murder Squad who first tipped me the wink and then kept nudging. And finally thanks to Tim – I couldn’t have done it without you.





For my children: Daniel, Ellie and Kit, who gave me all the material I needed for the Lewis family. What stars! Love and thanks.


Day 1: Saturday February 22nd


Promotion! Detective Chief Inspector. Janine Lewis watched The Lemon’s lips move and she savoured every terse, acerbic syllable. Detective Superintendent Leonard Hackett, as he was generally known, hated giving her this but he couldn’t really put it off any longer. Not unless he wanted suing for unequal treatment: she’d got the experience, done all the training, passed the exams. First woman DCI in Greater Manchester! Certainly the first pregnant DCI the force had ever known. Enough to ruffle a few feathers among the old guard. Send the odd Polly toppling from his perch with shock.

“Thank you, sir,” she beamed, when he’d finished. “I’m delighted.”

Janine went straight to the canteen afterwards, where she knew the rest of the team would be gathered. As she went in, conversation died down and people turned her way. She made them wait a moment – though anyone with an ounce of wit could see the excitement that gleamed in her eyes.

“I got it!” she grinned.

Detective Sergeants Shap and Butchers cheered and the rest of the room gave her a round of applause.

“Drink, Detective Chief Inspector?” Shap offered. There was plenty of time to get to the bar and back.

Janine shook her head, smiling. “I want to surprise Pete – champagne breakfast.”

Shap looked at the clock. “At lunchtime?”

“He’s on nights.” Pete did shifts at the airport, air traffic control.

After accepting more congratulations Janine left the police station and picked up a bottle of bubbly on the way home. Home was in Didsbury, a family house that they’d bought years back before the prices became completely silly. Comfortable, roomy, it suited them fine.

She parked in the drive, opened the front door as quietly as she could and tiptoed through to the kitchen for glasses. Stifling the childish urge to giggle, she sneaked upstairs with the bubbly in one hand and the glasses in the other.

She kicked open the bedroom door and shock slapped the grin from her face.

Pete. Pete with Tina, Tina the cleaner for god’s sake. In their bed. Not alone, not asleep and dreaming of her. Oh, no!

“Ah, you’re up already,” Janine managed before she fled downstairs, tears spilling. Tipping the champagne down the sink. Hurt and furious, taking one defiant swig. The bastard!

Janine reared from her sleep. A dream? No, not just a dream, a bloody re-enactment. Yes – she had got promotion, yes – Pete had been found in bed with the cleaner, yes – he had left her even though she offered to take him back (after all, their fourth baby was on the way).

And here she was three months on and the feelings still raw, close to the surface.

‘Mum!’ Six-year-old Tom burst into the room and leapt on her. ‘Is it a school day He wriggled under the covers with her.

Janine stretched, and smiled. ‘Nope. It’s Saturday. And we are having a lie-in.’ She lay back, arms behind her head, relishing the chance. Tom mimicked her pose and gave his own little sigh of contentment. But he could never stay still for long and his squirming prompted her to play.

‘What’s this doing in my bed?’ Janine pretended to be shocked and patted at the duvet. ‘What is it?’

Tom began to giggle.

‘It’s very bouncy.’ She pushed him with her hands so he bounced up and down.

‘I know – it’s a kangaroo!’

‘No,’ Tom’s giggling grew. ‘Not a kangaroo, it’s me, Tom.’ He turned onto his side facing her.

Janine grabbed his shoulder. ‘Ah, no. Here’s a bony bit. Maybe it’s a lobster. Is it a lobster?’

Tom shrieked as she tickled him, his legs kicking.

‘What’s this – hair? Blimey O’Riley, it’s a woolly mammoth!’

‘A sabre tooth tiger!’ Tom yelled breathlessly.




Two miles away in Whalley Range, Matthew Tulley leant his pushbike against the side of his shed and surveyed his allotment. It was a crisp February morning, the sun was bright and low in the sky and mist still clung in the shadiest corners. Above, the sky was a fresh blue, here and there a wisp of cloud and a trail of jet vapour. Perfect weather for a tidy-up and sorting the spring beds, lifting some of the root vegetables and preparing the drills for later crops. Lesley could use baby carrots and turnips for their evening meal. He went into the shed to get his tools.

When he heard footsteps and the rustle of clothing he turned to see who it was, took a step to the shed doorway. A look of confusion altered his face as his visitor approached. As he saw the knife.

‘What on earth,’ Matthew began to speak. His arms went up instinctively. The blade caught his right arm, the pain sudden and shocking.

‘No!’ Matthew grasped at his arm. The knife came again. Towards his belly and up. Stumbling forward, Matthew felt the agony explode through him, his fingers clutching across his front, felt slick warmth and weight. He fell forward, down over the threshold, his face in the mud, the sensation of grit and cold on his cheek and the smell of the dark soil in his nostril mingling with the metallic scent of blood. Matthew Tulley lost his sight, then his sense of smell, the last thing he was conscious of was the rustling sound of someone running through the plot, scraping past bushes and fencing, feet rocking the ground on which he lay dying.




Seven-year-old Jade, crouched beside the fencing, prayed that she wouldn’t be seen. She wasn’t allowed to play on the allotments. If her mam knew she’d be in trouble. Big trouble. No one must ever know. The person was getting closer now, just the other side of the fence. She shut her eyes and pressed herself into the wooden slats, holding her breath. Don’t look, don’t look! When she closed her eyes the picture was like a scary movie, it made her feel sick. The footsteps went past and on. Jade waited, counted to fifty and then a hundred. Cautiously she looked about, listened, and then ran herself. Half expecting a hand on her shoulder or a figure jumping out in front of her. Coming after her next. She reached the alley and ran down to her back yard, slipped in the back door and through to the lounge. Lay down in front of the telly, her heart beating fast in her chest, like a chick’s.




Janine loaded the washing machine and rubbed at her back where the weight was beginning to pull. Six months and counting. A May baby. Nice time of year for it – no need to bundle them up so much. But the nights! At thirty-eight she really hadn’t expected another child. Three was quite enough, thank you. Michael was fifteen, after all – technically old enough to father a child himself though she and Pete would skin him alive if he did. They’d done the sex talk, ten minutes of excruciating embarrassment for all concerned, and two weeks later Janine had brought home the pregnancy testing kit. Ironic or what? Watching in dismay as the blue spot appeared, her whole life suddenly knocked sideways by the prospect of seeing her feet disappear from view, her waist double in size, of labour, nappies, feeding, toilet training. Another eighteen years at least of full-on parenting.

Turning for the washing powder, Janine saw Tom pouring his cereal into the bowl and over the table. ‘Tom!’ He jerked at the noise managing to spill more flakes then righted the box. Ten-year-old Eleanor wandered in, a cardboard box on her head with a hole cut out to see. She reached for the cereal.

‘Eleanor,’ Janine said, ‘take it off while you have your breakfast.’

‘Why?’ Eleanor said, though it was a bit muffled.

‘It’ll get soggy.’ Janine rescued the milk from Tom and poured some into his bowl and cup.

Tom picked up a straw and started blowing bubbles in the milk; it frothed over the top of the cup in a big ball of bubbles, like a geodesic dome. Eleanor took off her cardboard box and sat down to eat.

Tom stared fondly at his creation. ‘An alien world,’ he breathed. Janine shot him a warning glance. Any more bubble blowing and the whole thing would collapse, making even more mess.

BOOK: Blue Murder
7.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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