Forgive No More is Seb Kirby’s latest release, the third in the James Blake thriller series.
Madeleine Jamieson, visiting London from Seattle, jumped at the chance to become a mudlarker. She’d always been interested in history and when she heard about the London walk that took in the chance to beach comb on the banks of the Thames it was too good to miss.
At low tide, the Thames retreated along the river bank between Somerset House and St Paul’s to reveal a distinct beach made up of shingle and the detritus of earlier centuries. Back in the 1600s, clay pipes filled with tobacco had been smoked and discarded into the river. These were abundant and formed the main treasure to be found at low tide now, though in the mind’s eye of any self-respecting mudlarker there was always the chance of real treasure in the shape of a Roman coin or something more valuable such as mediaeval jewelry. In Victorian times, to be a mudlarker was a recognized profession, given the wealth discarded into the Thames each day when the Port of London was the gateway to the world. These days, mudlarking was, at best, archaeology for everyman.
When the tour guide in the bright yellow T-shirt finished telling the small group these things she wished them well and sent them out on their search for the remains of London’s past. “Good hunting to you all. Come back with plenty of treasure.”
Madeline Jamieson turned to her husband. “Phil, let’s separate. We’ll have more chance of making good finds.”
Phil Jamieson was less interested in any of this but was keen to please her. “OK, Maddie. See you back here in twenty minutes.”
Madeleine made her way along the shore, searching as she went, and before long she’d found the first of the half dozen clay pipe fragments she was to collect. She couldn’t help thinking. “Now, if only I could find an intact clay pipe, that would be something to show Phil.”
She’d walked further than intended and was by now some distance away from the main group. In fact, she was approaching the buttress supports of Vauxhall Bridge.
When she saw the body she gave out a long and piercing scream heard a quarter of a mile away.
The body was bloated and in the late stages of decomposition. It had been dumped in the Thames some days before and the weights used to keep it beneath the water had now slipped. Brought in on the morning tide it had been washed against the supports of the bridge where it was now lodged.
The tour guide was the first to reach her and tried to calm her. “Just take deep breaths. Did I see you were with your husband? He’ll soon be here.”
When Phil Jamieson arrived, the guide was quick to attempt to reassure him. “It’s one of those unfortunate events we can’t guard against. I’m sure your wife will be able to get over this with your help.”
He wrapped his arms around his wife and walked her away from the scene. He tried to cheer her. “We didn’t expect to find anything as Charles Dickens as that, eh?”
She attempted a smile. “And this town is supposed to be so peaceful.”
Forgive No More is available on Amazon.
I’m the author of the James Blake Thriller series (Take No More, Regret No More and, now, Forgive No More) and the Raymond Bridges sci-fi thriller series (Double Bind). I’ve been an avid reader from an early age — my grandfather ran a mobile lending library in Birmingham and when it closed my parents inherited many of the books. From the first moment I was hooked. Now, as a full-time writer myself, it’s my goal to add to the magic of the wonderful words and stories I discovered back then.
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