A 1940s mystery
Erdington, September 1944
As events in Europe begin to turn in favour of the Allies, Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is once more prevailed upon to solve a seemingly impossible case.
Called to the local mortuary where a man’s body lies, shockingly bent double and lacking any form of identification, Mason and O’Rourke find themselves at Castle Bromwich aerodrome seeking answers that seem out of reach to them. The men and women of the royal air force stationed there are their prime suspects. Or are they? Was the man a spy, killed on the orders of some higher authority, or is the place his body was found irrelevant? And why do none of the men and women at the aerodrome recognise the dead man?
Mason, fearing a repeat of the cold case that dogged his career for two decades and that he’s only just solved, is determined to do all he can to uncover the identity of the dead man, and to find out why he was killed and abandoned in such a bizarre way, even as Smythe demands he spends his time solving the counterfeiting case that is leaving local shopkeepers out of pocket.
Join Mason and O’Rourke as they once more attempt to solve the impossible in 1940s Erdington.
MJ Porter has shared an extract from The Automobile Assassination. Enjoy!
*****beginning of extract*****
In which Detective Inspector Mason and Sergeant O’Rourke encounter one of the Automobile Association’s sentry boxes.
In front of them, Mason could see old Watling Street coming into view as they travelled along Sutton Road. He caught a first glimpse of the unmistakable Automobile Association telephone box. Even it had been repainted in less lurid colours than usual because of the war effort. All the same, the road sign placed above the box was a monstrous thing as it sat atop the sentry box, decked out in camouflage green and black stripes. It drew the eye easily enough.
To the bottom, the set of double signs directed the motorcar driver, bus or motorcycle rider towards Fazeley or Hints. The higher-up signs led the traveller towards Tamworth or Lichfield, depending on which way you wanted to travel.
The signs were the same green as the telephone box was edged in, with the writing in black on them and the distance given in miles. He smirked on seeing it. He well remembered when he was a much younger man, and the signs had been more simplistic, simply highlighting the ancient milestones used for so many decades, if not centuries, and often written on what was little more than lumps of handy stone.by
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