Detective Inspector Sonny Russell is an unusual policeman: a vegetarian interested in music and Buddhism, he lives alone in an old railway carriage on the south coast with his small terrier. It is the Fifties and in a nearby harbour a World War II bomb is discovered and made safe by bomb disposal experts from the local barracks. Shortly afterwards, a body is washed up on the shore wrapped in carpet and secured with expertly tied knots. The dead man has obviously been keelhauled. Russell makes a connection between the body and an Army lorry and a soldier, Rankin, appears to be involved.
A few days later a second body is found on a building site, shoved into a concrete mixer. This one has been flogged with a cat’o’nine tails. He is similarly wrapped up in carpet and tied. Two German brothers – one very tall and heavily built (Ludwig), the other small, with a withered leg (Wolfgang) – arouse interest when they buy a boat, Moonshine, from the ferryman, Jack Spratt. After the boat is sighted in Boulogne harbour, Russell goes there and meets up with Inspecteur Guillaume Bruissement and the two become good friends. However, the boat disappears before they can question the two brothers.
Back in England Russell and his DC Johnny Weeks discover a secret room in a disused brickworks where the Germans had been holed up. Following a tip-off the police go to Shell Bay at dawn and see Moonshine, from which a man is made to ‘walk the plank’. He is taken to hospital but is murdered there by Ludwig. After an abortive attempt to capture him, Ludwig escapes although Rankin is arrested. Russell is suspended for not making enough progress and decides to pursue his own enquiries. With the help of Bruissement he finds his way to Ludwigsburg where all the records of escaped Nazis are kept. Greg Judd, an expert on the subject, helps him discover that the German brothers are seeking revenge for the death and torture of their younger, much loved brother at the hands of a Nazi death squad. The brothers have killed three of the squad but have found out that there is a fourth living in northern France.
Meanwhile, the policemen who took over the case succeed in capturing Ludwig but Weeks is kidnapped by Wolfgang who heads for St Valery to execute the remaining Nazi. Russell and Judd fly to Le Touquet, where they are met by Bruissement. The trio then head for St Valery and are just in time to stop the fourth Nazi from being hanged and Weeks is freed. However, despite their best efforts to capture him, Wolfgang gets back to Moonshine and disappears into the fog. Russell returns to England, and receives a better reception from his superior. Although Ludwig is charged with the murders Russell vows that he will hunt down Wolfgang.
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About the Author
My writing is inspired by authors such as Val McDermid, Alan Hunter’s original George Gently novels, Matt Charman screenwriter of ‘Bridge of Spies’, has a copy of Blood on the Tide and the great Ian Rankin (who has read -and liked it) now has a copy of Blood on the Shrine.
I am active on social media and enjoy writing – I have had numerous articles published in specialist railway periodicals – and have my blog https://chrisodonoghue.blogspot.com/ where I share my musings of living by the sea in East Sussex. In my spare time I also design gardens, having won three medals at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show.
My new book, Blood on the Strand, will be published this month.
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