The worst that can possibly happen . . . has.
A beautiful child is dead -- defiled and murdered in a lonely graveyard on a fog-shrouded evening. It is the sort of horrific crime Chief Inspector Alan Banks fled the city to escape. But the slaying of a bright and lovely teenager from a wealthy, respected family is not the end of a nightmare. Lies, dark secrets, unholy accusations, and hints of sexual depravity swirl around this abomination like leaves in an autumn wind, leading to a shattering travesty of justice that will brutally divide a devastated community with suspicion and hatred. But Banks must remain vigilant in his hunt -- because when the devil is left free to pursue his terrible calling, more blood will surely flow.
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March 30, 2004
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Excerpt from Innocent Graves by Peter Robinson
The night it all began, a thick fog rolled down the dale and enfolded the town of Eastvale in its shroud. Fog in the market square, creeping in the cracks between the cobbles; fog muffling the sound of laughter from the Queen's Arms and muting the light through its red and amber panes; fog rubbing and licking against cool glass in curtained windows and insinuating its way through tiny gaps under doors.
And the fog seemed at its thickest in the graveyard of St. Mary's Church, where a beautiful woman with long auburn hair wandered barefoot and drunk, a wineglass full of Pinot Noir held precariously in her hand.
She weaved her way between the squat, gnarled yews and lichen-stained stones. Sometimes she thought she saw ghosts, gray, translucent shapes flitting among the tombs ahead, but they didn't frighten her.
And she came to the Inchcliffe Mausoleum.
It loomed ahead out of the fog, massive and magnificent: classical lines formed in marble, steps overgrown with weeds leading down to the heavy oak door.
But it was the angel she had come to see. She liked the angel. Its eyes were fixed on heaven, as if nothing earthly mattered, and its hands were clasped together in prayer. Though it was solid marble, she often fancied it was so insubstantial she could pass her hand right through it.
She swayed slightly, raised her glass to the angel and drained half the wine at one gulp. She could feel the cold, damp earth and grass under her feet.
"Hello, Gabriel," she said, voice a little slurred. "I'm sorry but I've sinned again." She hiccupped and put her hand to her mouth. "'Scuse me, but I just can't seem to ' "
Then she saw something, a black-and-white shape, sticking out from behind the mausoleum. Curious, she squinted and stumbled towards it. Only when she was about a yard away did she realize it was a black shoe and a white sock. With a foot still in it.