Just Whistle (D.S. Harry 'H' Blackburn)

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9781907565229: Just Whistle (D.S. Harry 'H' Blackburn)
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My name is John Osbourne, well It was before I started writing this bloody book, now I’m not sure who the hell I am. If you think you know me, please telephone 01482 21... Unemployed and recently divorced, John Osbourne’s life was slowly falling apart, then, encouraged to get a hobby by his daughter things took a different turn, a turn that he did not realise would change his life. As he starts writing his first novel, the characters seem to come alive before his very eyes. Osbourne’s creation, Detective Sergeant Harry “H” Blackburn and his team find themselves involved in the investigation of the murder of a young female student which leads them to the dangerous world of drug trafficking. When their only witness is murdered it becomes even more difficult for the team to get justice. As the lines between reality and fiction blur, Osbourne struggles to maintain his grip on reality as he enters the realm of fiction. Will Harry and the team get their man, but if they do, will John Osbourne be lost in the world of fiction forever?

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About the Author:

Alfie Robins was born and raised in the English east coast city of Kingston Upon Hull, known locally as, ‘Ull. Alfie left school at 15 and started work as a ships carpenter working on the trawlers on Hull fish dock. Over the years he has had a varied career, carpenter, production manager in the caravan industry and sales manager with a radio communications company, to name but a few. He is now retired and concentrates on his writing. Alfie has three grown up children and lives with his wife, son and two rabbits in East Yorkshire, England.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1 “The Crime” Monday, 6.45am. Soft white clouds scudded across the blue sky straight from the North Sea and down the Humber Estuary. Every now and again they would obliterate the weak morning sun, casting dull shadows on the menacing river as they raced inland. The white capped waves in the deep water channel manifested into salt spray as they crashed against the tethered buoy midstream. The power of the flow gouged fast running trenches through the mid-river sand banks, and gulls glided on the under-currents of the wind squawking and crying above the wind. Down river towards the Humber Bridge the outgoing tide left its usual murky brown mud layer along the foreshore, thick, deep and treacherous. This stretch was a haven for bird watchers, serious walkers and joggers in winter and summer alike. Since the opening of the long awaited Humber Bridge in the 1970s, the area had become a favourite with families seeking a respite away from the city, especially in the summer months. This particular morning there were no walkers and it was way too early for the picnickers. The only person on the foreshore pounded his way along the bank with his iPod playing loudly in his ears, until he saw it out of the corner of his vision. Fifty yards out from the river edge the gulls circled above the figure as if they were unsure whether to land or not, afraid of what lay on the mud bank below. Half concealed in the mud lay a slight female form, naked. From the riverbank he thought the still figure was a shop window dummy, dumped by kids as it lay prone, face down in the mire. As he stared from the foreshore the picture became clearer. It wasn’t a dummy. It was real. Monday. 8.35am. Detective Constable Steve Wales sat behind his desk wallowing in self-pity, feeling none too good due to self-inflicted alcohol abuse. The telephone rang. ‘Wales,’ he said into the handset. ‘Steve, its Sam, on the desk, got some bloke on the phone wants to speak to CID, won’t say why just that it’s urgent.’ The call came from the uniformed duty Sergeant Sam Kirk. ‘Cheers, Sam put him through.’ The detective eased back in his chair. ‘DC Wales, how can I help?’ ‘Listen, I have information and I won’t be repeating myself,’ the voice said. ‘Body of a girl was put in the river last night.’ The caller hung up before Wales had a chance to speak. The call came too late; the team were already on it. The smell of fried bacon carried through the air, and down the stairs from the first floor canteen, invading the nostrils of Detective Sergeant Harry “H” Blackburn. He was starving. Blackburn had been in the station since 6.30am catching up on the never ending pile of paperwork that seemed to breed on his desk. The station canteen was quiet, most of the shift changes had come and gone and only the usual skivers from uniform were hanging about until the last minute. Blackburn winced as he walked across the tiled floor to the counter, his new shoes squeaked on the tiles with every step he took. With his hands tucked deep in his suit pockets and a copy of the “Sun” tucked under his arm, Blackburn was ready for his daily battle of banter. ‘Bacon sarnie please, Bren and a mug of the good stuff,’ he called to the woman behind the counter. ‘Put an extra rasher in, love,’ he asked with a broad smile on his face. ‘What do you mean the good stuff? It’s all good stuff,’ the manageress answered, smiling as she wiped her hands on a tea towel. ‘I know, just don’t want one out of the urn.’ Blackburn leaned across the counter top, resting on his elbows and gave her a wink. ‘Get your elbows off my counter,’ she replied before she turned away to sort Blackburn’s order. ‘And you can pay for the extra rasher, we’re not a charity.’ she added with her back to the DS. ‘How’s it going Bren, getting plenty? ‘ 'Depends, I’m getting plenty of lip from you lot, that’s for certain.’ The manageress replied as she turned around, and pushed a mug of strong tea along with his breakfast bap across the worktop. Blackburn grabbed his breakfast, and retreated. She spun around at the sound of his squeaky shoes. ‘Oi, you haven’t paid yet,’ she shouted after him. ‘Left my wallet at home, put it on my tab.’ ‘You don’t have a tab, cheeky sod, I won’t forget you! Yes, love, what can I get you?’ she asked the next customer. Blackburn made his way to a vacant table, pulled out a tubular steel chair and sat down with his back to the door, setting out his newspaper on the table beside him. He opened up his buttie, picked up a bottle of brown sauce and, flicked the top open. Then he proceeded to smother the rashers of bacon and squashed it back together. ‘I don’t know how you can eat it with that brown stuff oozing out of it,’ a voice said from behind him. ‘Years of practice. Ouch, watch the syrup.’ Blackburn ducked forward as DS Ria Middleton, the officer with whom he shared a broom cupboard-come office with for the past year, slapped him on the back of his head. Although they worked with different squads they shared an office. Blackburn didn’t mind sharing; at least Ria smelled better than his male colleagues and on top of that she was a whizz on the computer and Blackburn needed all the help he could get. ‘I thought you were on leave?’ ‘Still am, I’m not due back until tomorrow. I had a bit of time to kill and thought I’d pop in to make sure you haven’t taken over my side of the cupboard. Quiet in here?’ ‘Nice tan? Been anywhere good? Meet anyone I shouldn’t know about?’ Blackburn asked as he looked up from his newspaper. ‘Steady up, “H”, you sound like my hairdresser,’ she said as she dropped her bag on the Formica top. ‘Anything interesting going on?’ Ria asked as she pulled out a tubular chair and sat down opposite Blackburn. He looked tired she thought, looking into his lived-in face as she brushed away the long dark hairs from her own face. ‘There well could be, they’ve just dragged a body out of the river not far from the Humber Bridge.’ Blackburn squashed the tea bag Bren had left in his mug between his fingers and dropped it on the table leaving a brown puddle. ‘Male, female, young, old?’ ‘A young woman by all accounts, possibly in her mid-twenties so they tell me,’ he mumbled through his bacon filled mouth. Before he could carry on with the conversation Blackburn’s mobile vibrated on the table in front of him. ‘Blackburn,’ he said into the receiver as he munched. He listened for a couple of minutes and hung up. ‘Good news or bad news?’ Ria enquired. ‘Not sure yet, they want me down at the foreshore, looks like they might be ready to move the body.’ Blackburn took another mouth full of his sarnie. ‘So why are you still here filling your face?’ Ria challenged. ‘Because, my dear Ria, it looks like it could turn out to be a long day, and I’m having some sustenance while I can. You know what it’s like, once things get moving I probably won’t get a chance.’ Blackburn picked up his mug and slurped his tea noisily. ‘Who’s been designated Senior Investigating Officer?’ Ria asked as she once again brushed her hair from her face and tucked it behind her right ear. ‘Well, there’s a question and a half. I have.’ She looked puzzled. ‘Don’t look surprised, what with DI Prosser, “The Tosser”, still on sick leave with his piles, I’ve been made up to Acting DI. Aren’t I the lucky one?’ Blackburn put down his mug and picked up what remained of his sandwich, glancing at the newspaper by the side of his plate. ‘Congratulations,’ she offered with sincerity. ‘Maybe, we’ll see.’ He pushed in the last mouthful and swallowed. ‘Any idea how long he’s going to be off?’ asked Ria. ‘Prosser? The longer the better if you ask me.’ There was no love lost between Blackburn and the DI, mainly due to Prosser’s incompetency and love of regulations. ‘Poor bloke’s probably laid there in agony with a wholesale pack of cotton wool stuck up his arse and all you do is take the piss out of the poor bugger.’ Ria laughed out loud at her own joke. ‘Not hard to do though is it, you can’t take the piss out of sh...’ He never had a chance to finish the sentence. ‘Well, let’s hope he’s laid on his front.’ Ria interrupted with a broad smile on her face. Blackburn picked up his mug of tea and swallowed the remainder down in one, stood up and plonked his mug on the table. ‘Must dash, people to do, things to see etc, etc. You in tomorrow then?’ ‘Yeah, see you in the morning “Sir”,’ she called after him shaking her head as Blackburn headed for the door, leaving his newspaper behind. Blackburn stopped at the doorway and turned around. ‘By the way you’ve been reassigned to a new team.’ ‘Whose team?’ Ria frowned as she spoke. ‘Mine. See you in the morning, don’t be late.’ Blackburn did a quick about turn and squeaked away before she had a chance to have a go at him. Under different circumstances it would have been an enjoyable trip out to the river front. The sun was warming the morning up nicely. Blackburn took off his jacket and threw it onto the back seat, climbed out of the Ford Mondeo and locked it, not before checking his cigarettes and lighter were in his trouser pocket. Once he was sorted he made his way towards the recovery team working in the mire. Standing on the foreshore path he could feel the warmth of the sun on his shoulders. From where he stood he had a clear view across the Humber to Barton. Blackburn felt as relaxed as he could be in the circumstances. He contemplated if he should get a pair of rubber boots from the crime scene van. Should he or shouldn’t he? ‘Nah’, he thought to himself and walked along the bank. With an Embassy King-size hanging from his mouth and his hands tucked deep in his pockets, he crossed the black gritty pathway. The stone chips crunching under his feet hid the noise made by his squeaky shoes. Still some distance away from the activity he stood on the pebble and boulder beach, watching the recovery team struggling in the mud. ‘Harry, not coming down to join us?’ shouted a robust figure in protective clothing wearing rubber thigh boots. The figure was covered in mud from head to toe. ‘I might be a daft bugger, but I’m not stupid,’ he called back to Tosh Thompson, the overweight Chief Crime Scene Co-ordinator. Blackburn couldn’t help but smile to himself as he watched Tosh waddle towards him. He reminded him of a fat seal struggling to get out of a pool. ‘What have you got?’ ‘Give me a bloody chance to get my breath back.’ Tosh stood leaning forward with his hands resting on his knees wheezing for his life, the sweat glistened on his face. ‘Too many fags and pies, Tosh.’ Blackburn flipped his cigarette butt into the mud. ‘If you’re not bloody careful you’ll have a coronary, then how will we get you out of the mud?’ ‘Never stop do you, always the comedian.’ The CSE regained his composure and pulled down the hood of his protective suit to reveal his bald head dripping with perspiration. Tosh pulled off his rubber gloves and stuffed them into the pocket of his suit, then reached into the bag hung across his shoulder and produced a digital camera. ‘The body was face down in the mud as you would expect, then we turned her. Thought you should see this, take a look.’ The CSE switched the camera into preview mode and handed it over. Blackburn stared at the photograph of a young girl. ‘Jesus.’ He felt his stomach do a somersault as his eyes adjusted to the image. He saw the close up of the victim’s abdomen opened up like a tin of beans. The gaping cavity stretched wide open, oozing black Humber mud. ‘What the hell’s happened to her?’ ‘To be honest with you, “H” I haven’t got a bleedin’ clue. I’ll be able to tell you more once we’ve retrieved the body and got her back to the morgue,’ he said solemnly. ‘Soon as you can, mate.’ For once Blackburn was stumped for a joke. ‘Poor cow,’ he added as he reached into his pocket for another smoke. ‘Will do,’ Tosh called after him as he put the camera safely in the bag. Blackburn watched the CSE retrace his tracks in the mud to supervise the removal. Time was of the essence before the tide turned. We hope you enjoyed reading this free sample

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