Lynda La Plante Above Suspicion

ISBN 13: 9781849834339

Above Suspicion

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9781849834339: Above Suspicion

The first in the much-loved Anna Travis series reissued in B-format in Lynda's stunning new look. Now a major ITV drama.

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About the Author:

Lynda La Plante was born in Liverpool. She trained for the stage at RADA and worked with the National Theatre and RSC before becoming a television actress. She then turned to writing - and made her breakthrough with the phenomenally successful TV series Widows. Her novels have all been international bestsellers. Her original script for the much-acclaimed Prime Suspect won awards from BAFTA, British Broadcasting and the Royal Television Society as well as the 1993 Edgar Allan Poe Award. Lynda La Plante was made an honorary fellow of the British Film Institute and was given the BAFTA Dennis Potter Award in 2000. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2008 and was inaugurated into the Crime Thriller Writers' Hall of Fame in 2009. Visit Lynda at her website: www.lyndalaplante.com Twitter: @LaPlanteLyndawww.facebook.com/LyndaLaPlanteCBE

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

Detective Chief Inspector Langton stared at the women's dead faces. All six of them appeared to have the same joyless, haunted expression. They were all of similar ages and worked in the same profession. The first victim on the file had been strangled twelve years ago.

It was six months ago that the last victim was found; she had been dead for at least eighteen months. Langton had been brought in to Queen's Park to oversee the case. Without a suspect or a witness, he had begun to cross-reference the way the victim had been murdered, and subsequently discovered five identical unsolved cases.

He was certain that they had all been killed by the same person, but to date he had no clues as to who that person might be. It was turning into the most frustrating, dead-end case he had ever worked on. The only thing he was sure about, and that he and the profilers agreed on, was that there would be another victim.

Due to the length of time between each gruesome discovery, there had been little media coverage. Langton wanted to keep it that way; hype and panic would do his investigation more harm than good, and police warnings usually had little effect on the prostitutes. Despite the Yorkshire Ripper being headline news for years, he was finally caught with a tart about to do the business in his car. Police warnings didn't mean much to the street girls when they needed money for drugs or rent, or their kids or their pimps.

Langton leafed through the latest batch of missing persons' files. A photograph caught his eye. "Melissa Stephens," he read. According to the report sheet, she was seventeen. The photo showed a stunningly pretty girl with shoulder-length blonde hair and the sweetest of smiles. Compared to the other women on file, this girl looked like an innocent angel. How had the photo ended up in this folder?

Langton put the girl's details to one side and went back to the files of missing prostitutes in their late thirties and early forties. He studied the photos of their beat-up-looking faces intently. He took note that many of the women in this file were European; some were Russian.

Langton's detective sergeant, Mike Lewis, interrupted his concentration. "She doesn't fit the profile." He leaned across the desk and picked up Melissa's photograph.

"Yeah, I know. That's why I put her to one side."

At first, the team had concentrated their search on the local area, but now the net had spread to include Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. They were monitoring missing persons for women with similar profiles to the victims. It was sick, but it was all Langton could do; a fresh victim might provide the vital clue that would lead them to the serial killer.

"Did you hear about Hudson?" asked Lewis.

"No. What about him?"

"He called in sick. He was taken to hospital. May be serious."

"Shit! The Boss is already checking us out. We'll lose half the team if we don't get a result soon."

"He might be out for a while."

Langton lit a cigarette. "Get someone in to cover him, and fast."

"OK."

An hour later Lewis placed half a dozen folders on Langton's desk.

"Christ! Is this all you could come up with?" Langton complained.

"It's all they've got."

"Leave them with me. I'll get back to you."

Lewis shut the door and went back to his desk. Langton started to glance through possible replacements for Hudson. The first file belonged to an officer he had worked with before, and didn't get along with. He opened the next one.

Detective Sergeant Anna Travis's file was certainly impressive. After graduating from Oxford University in economics she had done the usual eighteen weeks' training at Hendon, then taken a uniform posting with a response team. Toward the end of her probationary period she had been attached to the local borough CID Robbery and Burglary Squad before switching to the Crime Squad. A memo from her superintendent underlined in red that Travis was a very "proactive" officer.

Langton flicked through the rest of her CV with less interest. Travis had moved quickly up to the Home Office's High Potential Scheme. The list of attachments she had covered made him smile: robbery, burglary, CID, Community Safety Unit. About the only thing she hadn't worked on yet was a murder team, though he noticed she had applied three times without success.

He was beginning to feel his age. Slightly depressed, he read on. The glowing recommendations from her superiors he took with a pinch of salt; he needed someone with street knowledge and initiative, not just an impressive CV. It was the last paragraph that seized his attention. He straightened up as he read the words: "Anna Travis is the daughter of the late Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Travis." Langton started tapping the file thoughtfully with his pen: Jack Travis had been his mentor.

In the outside office, Mike Lewis answered the phone promptly. Then put his head through the open door of Langton's room.

"Gov?"

Langton looked up from his desk, distracted. "Who is it?"

"Wouldn't say. You want to take it or not?"

"Yeah, yeah," said Langton, reaching for the phone. "Stay."

Mike leafed through some paperwork while Langton spoke tersely: "How old? Who's on it? OK, thanks. Get back to me. I appreciate it."

Langton put the phone down. "Body just found on Clapham Common. I don't think it fits with any of ours -- she's young, apparently -- but they're only just on the callout." He rocked back in his chair thoughtfully.

"Mike, do you know DCI Hedges? Crew cut, square head, and full of himself?"

"Yeah. A right arsehole."

"It's his case, his area. I want you to stand by. If we get any more details I might want to crash in on it."

Lewis looked at the photos spread out on the desk: "Are you thinking maybe it's the missing angel?"

"Maybe." He held out a file and stood up. "Get this Anna Travis on the team."

"What, the rookie?"

"Yep."

"She's never been on a murder team."

Langton shrugged himself into his coat. "Her father was Jack Travis. Maybe taking on his penpusher of a daughter will be good karma."

He stopped at the door. "Anyway, rate we're going, we might not even have a case. If the chief puts them all on file, we'll be stuck with a skeleton team until they've all been shelved and sent over to the dead file warehouse. G'night."

"Night."

Lewis returned to his desk in the incident room and dialed Anna Travis's number.

By quarter to eight the next morning Anna Travis was sitting in a patrol car speeding to the murder site. Although all she had been told was that she was replacing an officer on sick leave, Anna was excited to be finally working in the field for which she had trained so hard.

With Anna in the patrol car were Lewis and another seasoned detective, DC Barolli. Mike Lewis had square shoulders, and a body running to fat. His round face and red cheeks gave him a look of perpetual good humor. Barolli was smaller, with dark, Italian looks but an East London accent.

As they drew up to the Clapham Common parking area, she noticed the presence of the forensic van, and numerous unmarked cars. Although police cordons allowed no one but officers entry, an exception was made for the catering van, which was already in place and serving pies and sandwiches to the teams setting up the base.

What surprised her was the lack of a sense of urgency. Lewis and Barolli went straight from the car to "Teapot One" to get some coffee. Unsure of the procedure, Anna just hovered nearby. When she looked further across the common toward the yellow ribbons cordoning off the car park, she could see white-suited forensic officers moving around.

"Is this the murder site?" she asked Lewis.

"Pretty obvious. Yeah."

"Shouldn't we go and sort of make our presence known to DCI Langton?" she said hesitantly.

"You had your breakfast, then?" Lewis asked.

"Yes, before I got the callout." Actually, she'd had just a cup of black coffee; she had been too nervous to eat. Anna waited while Lewis and Barolli queued up for their bacon sandwiches. They made short work of them, after which the three began to make their way to the murder site. Anna let them lead, deliberately falling behind. After eight hundred yards, they slithered down a sloping bank. She noticed both officers tense up. Lewis removed a handkerchief from his pocket and shook it out; Barolli unwrapped chewing gum.

They approached a group that stood by a clump of trees in a small hollow. There the forensic officers were kneeling or moving deliberately around the area. Anna stepped onto the duckboards placed strategically along the muddy incline. Though the two detectives nodded toward various people, no one spoke. The quiet was unsettling. Then it hit her. The smell was like dead flowers left too long to rot in water, when their stems become soggy and discolored. Soon it was overpowering.

"You took your time," DCI Langton barked at the two detectives. He turned to light a cigarette and she saw a tall rangy man in a forensic-issue white paper suit, five o'clock shadow already breaking the surface of his angular chin. Langton had a hawk nose and hard piercing eyes that made it difficult to meet his gaze. Neither detective answered him now, both turning to look instead toward the white tent that had just been erected. Langton inhaled deeply, then the smoke streamed from his nostrils.

"Is it a possible?" she overheard Lewis ask his superior quietly.

"Yeah. But you watch. The dickhead in charge is going to hang on to the case if we can't prove it -- and fast."

Now Langton's gaze fell on Anna. He stared unapologetically at her.

"You the new DS?"

"Yes, sir."

"I knew your father. Good man."

"Thank you," she said softly.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Travis had retired two years ago, only to die from cancer six months later. Anna still missed him terribly. She had adored her generous, loving and supportive father, and it was a source of grief for her that he was gone before she made it in plain clothes. She felt that grief even more keenly now that she was on the Murder Squad, which had become such a prominent part of his adult l...

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Lynda La Plante
Published by Simon Schuster Ltd, United Kingdom (2011)
ISBN 10: 1849834334 ISBN 13: 9781849834339
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Book Description Simon Schuster Ltd, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Re-issue. Language: English . Brand New Book. The first instalment in the bestselling Anna Travis series from the BAFTA-winning writer Lynda La Plante Young Anna Travis has been assigned to her first murder case - a series of killings that has shocked even the most hardened of detectives. They started eight years ago - now the body count is up to six. The method of killing is identical, the backgrounds of the girls identical - all drug-users and prostitutes. Then a seventh body is found. The modus operandi is the same - but the victim is a young student with the face of an angel . The profile of the murderer has changed dramatically. Determined to earn the respect of her male colleagues, Anna stumbles on a vital piece of information which links one man to the killings, a much-loved actor on the brink of international stardom. His arrest would create a media frenzy. But if he were foundinnocent, his wouldn t be the only career over - Anna s hard fought for reputation would be destroyed once and for all . Lynda La Plante practically invented the thriller. Above Suspicion blew me away - it grabs you and doesn t let go until the last page KARIN SLAUGHTER La Plante is building up an interesting body of writing that is underrated. Anna proves a resourceful and believable heroine and heralds the launch of a major new character GUARDIAN The prime suspect here is an adored actor, poised to hit the big time. Could he really be behind a string of grisly murders? It s up to Anna Travis, La Plante s gutsy new heroine, to find out MAIL ON SUNDAY Like Jane Tennison, Anna Travis has to work a world which is still rampantly chauvinistic. it is a novel to read about the complexity of relationships, as well as for its compelling plot DAILY EXPRESS. Bookseller Inventory # AA89781849834339

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Book Description Simon Schuster Ltd, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Re-issue. Language: English . Brand New Book. The first instalment in the bestselling Anna Travis series from the BAFTA-winning writer Lynda La Plante Young Anna Travis has been assigned to her first murder case - a series of killings that has shocked even the most hardened of detectives. They started eight years ago - now the body count is up to six. The method of killing is identical, the backgrounds of the girls identical - all drug-users and prostitutes. Then a seventh body is found. The modus operandi is the same - but the victim is a young student with the face of an angel . The profile of the murderer has changed dramatically. Determined to earn the respect of her male colleagues, Anna stumbles on a vital piece of information which links one man to the killings, a much-loved actor on the brink of international stardom. His arrest would create a media frenzy. But if he were foundinnocent, his wouldn t be the only career over - Anna s hard fought for reputation would be destroyed once and for all . Lynda La Plante practically invented the thriller. Above Suspicion blew me away - it grabs you and doesn t let go until the last page KARIN SLAUGHTER La Plante is building up an interesting body of writing that is underrated. Anna proves a resourceful and believable heroine and heralds the launch of a major new character GUARDIAN The prime suspect here is an adored actor, poised to hit the big time. Could he really be behind a string of grisly murders? It s up to Anna Travis, La Plante s gutsy new heroine, to find out MAIL ON SUNDAY Like Jane Tennison, Anna Travis has to work a world which is still rampantly chauvinistic. it is a novel to read about the complexity of relationships, as well as for its compelling plot DAILY EXPRESS. Bookseller Inventory # AA89781849834339

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