In one of the finest and most pivotal books in this critically acclaimed series, never before published in the U.S., D.S. Kathy Kolla reports to New Scotland Yard and to D.C.I. David Brock's Serious Crime Division.
Just before Kolla is to start her new job, a young woman is found viscously murdered in a leafy, well-heeled suburb, and the grotesque details of the slaughter appear to be well-rehearsed, even theatrical. Assigned to the case, Kolla's only improbable lead draws her to a local amateur drama group. Once in their orbit, she is lured into a piece of theatre over which, increasingly, she has little control. In All My Enemies, Brock and Kolla find themselves in a tangled web of deceptions in a case wherein a corpus of plays becomes a template for murder.
About the Author
Barry Maitland is the author of several previous novels featuring D.C.I David Brock and Det. Sgt. Kathy Kolla, most recently Spider Trap. Born in Scotland and raised in London, Maitland lives in Australia. He's been a finalist for the Barry Award, the John Creasey Award, and is a winner of the Ned Kelley Award.
Read an Excerpt
All My Enemies
A Brock and Kolla Mystery
By Barry Maitland
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 1996 Barry Maitland
All rights reserved.
BY LUNCHTIME KATHY WAS reduced to the word-puzzle in the Sunday paper. Form words of three or more letters from the title of The Grubs' latest hit single, "Claim to Dream." No proper names; target 130; include at least one 12-letter word.
She had begun the day with good intentions. There were plenty of things that could be done before she started her new job: letters that could be written, bills that could be paid, housework that could be done.
Mad, ram, mat, tic, model, modal, rot.
She felt like a stranger in her own flat, hardly having been in the place in the past fifteen months. For a year, while she had been on secondment to the County force at Edenham, she had let the place to a tenant. Then, when she returned to London, she had had to leave again almost immediately for the staff college at Bramshill, in preparation for her new posting at the Yard. The result was that all of the little changes that her tenant's occupation had brought about were still there. The dining-table was in the wrong place, the curtain in the bedroom needed repairing, and his cigarette burn in the worktop of the small kitchen still glared like a fresh wound. Just to wash the whole place down would have been an act of reclamation, establishing that she was in charge again, and for an hour after breakfast she had plunged into the task, doing the easier bits — bathroom, kitchen, and windows — before running out of cleaners and sponges. She had turned to sorting an envelope of old papers, and come across things she was amazed that she still possessed: postcards, letters, fragments of the past. One piece in particular had stopped her dead, a forgotten scrawl, terse, imperious, on a scrap of pale blue notepaper. She'd given up at that point and made a cup of tea, overwhelmed by the feeling that she didn't belong here.
Tea, lair, meat, rice, tame, idle.
The weather was partly to blame, a hot late-summer spell that everyone had felt obliged to take advantage of, so that when Kathy had walked down to the corner shop to buy the paper it had felt as if she was almost the last person left in London. The city seemed evacuated, the few people who remained were suspended, waiting for life to resume. On such a Sunday morning, even the music coming distantly from the Meat Loaf freak's flat two floors below seemed to lack conviction.
Climate, micro, clear, air, clam, coma, melodic, time.
But mostly it was the unfamiliar sensation of having nothing to do. It had caught her off-guard and made her feel weak. Now she came to look at it, the paper seemed full of things designed to protect people from just this feeling, page after page of distractions and diversions to fill the awkward gaps between sleep and work. There were whole sections devoted to the problem — travel, sport, home improvements, the arts, gardening, food, entertainment, bridge, chess, crosswords. There was so much of it that you could occupy the day just reading about ways to occupy the day.
Everyone should have a hobby, the paper seemed to insist. Perhaps she should join something when she had settled in at the Yard. They were bound to have sports teams, social clubs. She turned the page and came to the personal columns. Better still, she could find a man, make a hobby of that.
Male, dream, date, admire, matador, idol, erotic, care, moral, laid, marital.
The words spun from her pen.
Lie, liar, immoral, malice, drama, rat, toad.
She shook herself and stood up. Clearly it was time to get out of the flat. Peter Greenaway's latest was churning stomachs at the cinema down the road. If she bought a sandwich first and took a walk in the park, she could catch the second performance, so that it would almost be dark when she came out and could avoid feeling guilty about having wasted such a wonderful summer day, her last free day before she finally joined Brock's team.
As she reached the door the phone rang and her heart gave a thump as she recognized the voice.
"Kathy! You're back from Bramshill."
"Yes. Hello, Brock. It's good to hear you. How's your shoulder?"
"Absolutely fine now." It sounded as if he was on a car phone, his voice fading and strengthening. "I expect you're busy, are you, just having got back?"
"Not really. I'm pretty much on top of everything." Kathy tried to sound convincing.
"Only, I know you don't officially join us until tomorrow, Kathy, but I've just got word of something that looks like a job for us. A killing. A rather nasty one by the sound of it. I'm on my way there now. If you were interested "
"Yes! What's the address?"
"Petts Wood, South London — Kent."
"I know." She scribbled down the address he gave her, and as he went on, suggesting the best route for her to get there from North London, she wrote: Mortal, crime, team, armed?
When she put the phone down she took a deep breath and smiled to herself, feeling as if she'd just woken up from a deep sleep, although the twelve-letter word still eluded her.CHAPTER 2
THE DENSITY OF BUILDINGS cramming the sides of the road began to ease, and she came to dark woods, heavy with summer foliage swaying and billowing suddenly like green-black sails in the light afternoon breeze. She drove with the window down, catching glimpses of solitary figures weeding in flower beds, ponies on a shady bridle-path. Then across a railway cutting, and ranks of houses reappeared on both sides of the road.
She stopped to check the A–Z, then turned off the main road into a maze of quiet crescents and winding streets lined with identical houses submerged in gardens of endless variety. Another railway bridge, and semi-detached gave way to detached, the gardens growing larger and the trees more mature.
It was so quiet when she stopped again to check the map, with only the faintest drone of a lawn-mower somewhere in the distance, and the whiff of roses and Sunday roasts. And so familiar, although she had never been here before. For a moment she was a child again, knowing every paving-slab and lamp-post, every rockery and pillar-box, just as she once had been in another, identical suburb, miles away, years ago. It was so reassuringly ordinary, so nurtured, so secure. And in one of these cosy boxes, not far away now, something awful had happened, life had been thrown out of control, just as, in a different way, it once had in hers.
When she turned into Birchgrove Avenue it was clear which was the one, from the number of vehicles jamming the kerb. She stopped at the end of the line and walked back to number 32. As she passed the driveway of the house next door, a woman in a straw hat appeared suddenly from behind a hydrangea bush and waved a pair of secateurs at Kathy.
"Excuse me! Are you with the police?" she called.
Kathy paused. "Yes."
"Only, I just wondered if I could do something to help. Is it a burglary?"
"I don't know yet."
"Well, perhaps you could ask the Hannafords if there's anything I can do. I'm Pamela Ratcliffe."
"All right, Mrs. Ratcliffe. I'll tell them."
"Thank you. There's an awful lot of you, isn't there? For a burglary?"
Kathy turned down the brick drive of 32. The door was opened for her by a uniformed policewoman. Brock was standing in the middle of the panelled hallway, talking intently to a man dressed in a dark suit and dog-collar. Brock acknowledged Kathy with a nod and continued his conversation with the clergyman. "I'm only suggesting that, at this stage, it would be better to avoid speculation about motive, when you're talking to Mr. and Mrs. Hannaford."
The vicar appeared somewhat exasperated. Her eyes adjusting to the dark interior of the house, Kathy saw that he was a young man, rosy-cheeked, with rather stylish wire-framed glasses on his nose. He stabbed at them impatiently with his middle finger and said, "The fact remains, Chief Inspector, that we all have to share the responsibility when something like this happens. And the sooner they can accept that, the sooner they will be able to forgive, and the sooner the process of healing can begin."
"We have to share the responsibility?" Brock looked at him in disbelief.
"Of course. We have created a society based on selfishness and greed. People like the Hannafords have benefited materially from it. And now that the good times are over, it is others who are paying the price — the young who can't get jobs and who may, in their desperation, turn to theft. And when they are disturbed, a tragedy like this inevitably happens. Of course the act is theirs, but we are all responsible for the circumstances which brought it about."
Brock took a deep breath, then said, very quietly, "You haven't been upstairs, have you, Mr. Bannister?" The vicar frowned and shook his head.
"Well, maybe it would be helpful if you could make a formal identification for us. I didn't like to press the point with her parents, the way they are at present."
"I see ... well, of course."
Kathy followed them up the stairs, their footsteps silent in the thick carpet, air fragrant with Mansion House polish and Pine-o-Cleen. At the landing, Brock stopped them and went himself to an open doorway. He stuck his head in and exchanged a few murmured words with someone inside the room, then waved the Reverend Bannister forward. The vicar went to the door and stopped, adjusting his glasses again. There was a sudden dazzle of light from a photo flashgun within the room, and the clergyman recoiled abruptly from the doorway, as if someone had punched his chest. As Kathy went towards him she saw that his eyes were staring wide, the colour gone from his face. He looked at her for a moment without seeing, then brought a hand up to his mouth, looked around distractedly, and rushed across the landing to another doorway.
Brock stared after him, then turned to Kathy. "Perhaps I shouldn't have done that," he said. He nodded back over his shoulder. "You'd better take a look."
Within the snug, still house, a womb of Axminster and Liberty against an uncertain world, something awful had exploded in just this one room. A woman's belongings were scattered in all directions, slashed clothing mixed with broken things swept from the dressing-table and chest of drawers. Her blood was sprayed across the grey wallpaper, and her bedding was a turmoil of bloodstained sheets and pillows. In the midst of all this she was laid out, naked, as if by an undertaker, straight out on her back, arms by her side, palms upward, her body spattered with purple punctures. And at the very centre of the turmoil, the focus, the thing which had sent the priest reeling backward, was her face, a livid scarlet pulp, the flesh all torn away, surrounded by a halo of fair hair.
"My God!" Kathy muttered under her breath, and moved forward towards the remains of Angela Hannaford.
The word was barked out like a military order, and Kathy froze immediately. She turned and faced a tall, dark man in pale blue overalls and plastic boots, who was staring at her, hands on hips. Behind him, a photographer and two other men were crouching on the floor, peering at a patch of carpet.
"I said, nobody in here till I give the word. Don't you bloody listen?"
Kathy flushed and stared back at him. "Sorry. I've just arrived. Kathy Kolla."
He stared coldly at her for a moment, then said, "Really? Well, clear off, Kathy Kolla."
Kathy glared back at him, reacting as much to the adrenalin shock from the scene in the room as to his rudeness. She swallowed, turned, and retraced her steps back out to the landing.
The Reverend Mr. Bannister was emerging from the toilet, wiping his mouth with his handkerchief. He avoided meeting Brock's eye. "I see ..." he muttered, "I see."
They returned downstairs and went into the front room, where they sat at a dining-table, gleaming with fresh polish.
"Tell us what you can about Angela," Brock said.
"Ah ..." The clergyman sucked in a deep breath and pushed his glasses back on his nose. "She was —" he swallowed, cleared his throat, the bile still burning "— a pleasant girl. Kind, obliging, pleasant. Yes ... twenty-two, twenty-three." He shook his head abruptly, as if with irritation. "Why, then? I don't understand."
"Pleasant, you say?"
"What? Yes, pleasant. Of course. Umm ... quiet. Dependable, regular church-goer, like her parents." He seemed to have difficulty finding things to say about her. "One of our Sunday-school teachers, popular with the kiddies." He looked at his watch, agitated. "That's where she should be now."
"You knew her pretty well?"
"Well ... yes, yes. The family — Angela and her parents — are just about our most loyal parishioners. She wasn't at the service this morning. I remember that now."
"Where is that?"
"St. George's, C of E."
"So you noticed that she wasn't there."
"Yes. I knew that Basil and Glenys — Mr. and Mrs. Hannaford — I knew that they were returning from holiday this morning, and I thought she might be meeting them, or something."
Brock nodded. "I was a bit confused by Mr. Hannaford's account of all that just now. He mentioned that they flew into Gatwick this morning, from Frankfurt. And you think Angela was expected to meet them at the airport?"
"Oh, I've no idea. That's just what I assumed when she wasn't at the service. Adrian wasn't there either."
"Her fiancé. Adrian Avery. He lives up near the station. Kingsway or Manor Way, I'm not sure."
"You'd have expected him to be at the service this morning?"
"Not necessarily. He's not as regular as Angela." He shrugged.
Brock looked at him carefully. "Would there be anyone else you can think of who was attracted to Angela sexually? A former boyfriend perhaps, or someone she knew, whose advances she'd rejected?"
The clergyman snorted. "Of course not!."
"She was unattractive, was she?"
"No, no." He corrected himself, a bit flustered by this. "I mean God, what do I mean? I mean that she was chaste. There was nothing sexually provocative about her. Do you know what I mean? I remember my predecessor telling me that she always used to take the part of the Virgin Mary in the Christmas nativity play when she was a girl. She loved the part, and she was perfectly suited to it."
Brock nodded. "And there's no doubt in your mind that that is Angela Hannaford upstairs?"
"Chief Inspector ... I couldn't say. I really couldn't. The hair it looked like hers. Do you want me to to look at her again?"
Brock hesitated. "Would you be able to identify her wristwatch, say, or her rings?"
"No ... I wouldn't have any idea."
"Well, we'll leave it then. Will you stay with the parents for a while? They seemed anxious for you to be here. I believe they rang your house immediately after calling the police?"
"That's right. Actually, they asked for my predecessor. They weren't thinking straight, of course, with the shock of finding Angela. They would have got more comfort from him than from me, I'm afraid. He'd known them for a long time, you see, and he was more their age. But I'll do my best. I'll steer clear of motive, Chief Inspector, but, dear Lord!" He shook his head helplessly. "What could have possessed anyone?"
Brock got to his feet and showed him to the door. "We'll come through and speak to Mr. and Mrs. Hannaford again in a little while." He followed the vicar out into the hall and returned a moment later with a woman, whom he invited to sit at the table. Kathy judged her to be in her early thirties, not much older than Kathy herself. She looked preoccupied.
"What can you tell us at this stage, doctor?" Brock asked.
"Death appears to be due to stabbing." Her voice was low and very quiet, so that Kathy found herself leaning forward to catch the words. "There are more than forty stabbing cuts to various parts of her body, done with a blade perhaps half or three-quarters of an inch in width, I'd estimate. Any one of a dozen of these might have been the cause of death. There are other injuries too — extensive bruising and a couple of possible fractures a rib and a finger."
"So he continued stabbing her after she was dead?" Brock prompted.
"Was there a struggle?"
"There was a lot of activity, obviously, but whether she resisted him ... I couldn't say."
"Was she restrained in some way?"
"I think her thumbs were tied together — there's deep bruising and tearing of the flesh of one thumb and the remains of a thin cord round the other."
Excerpted from All My Enemies by Barry Maitland. Copyright © 1996 Barry Maitland. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
All My Enemies was a good read but the plot was a little too neat and seemed somewhat contrived - the main suspect turns out to be only the driving force for the real murderer. Some good twists but the main character catches on only because everyone else misses the boat. Enjoyable but not fully satisfying.
A great plot with an unexpected ending
I liked the way the story moved along without over explanations.
DS Kathy Kolla is ready to report to New Scotland Yard and join DCI David Brock's Serious Crime Division. But before she steps foot in the door, a murder has taken place and she will lead the investigation to solve this well rehearsed slaughter. In this series, Brock and Kolla will work together to solve this crime and put a stop to the person behind the grotesque murderer. Clues lead them to an amateur drama group and they soon realize that other recent murders are tied in to the plays performed by this group. Barry Maitland is an incredible author and the Brock and Kolla series are nothing but exceptional. Maitland definitely knows how to write a book that is not only suspenseful but terrifying. In this dark fiction, Maitland will take you on a disturbing ride to find the killer of these theatrical murders. "All My Enemies" is a story that will not only send chills down your spine but will give you nightmares at night. www.suspensemagazine.com
All My Enemies Barry Maitland Minotaur, Sep 15 2009, $13.99 ISBN: 9780312384005 New Scotland Yard Serious Crime Branch Detective Chief Inspector David Brock asks his new hire Detective Sergeant Kathy Kolla if she can start earlier than negotiated as he has a hot homicide to investigate and could use her help. She agrees. Sunday school teacher Angela Hannaford was brutally murdered in her parents' South London suburban home; the victim's face was badly mutilated by a knife. Kathy leads the inquiry under DCI Brock's mentoring. This is not the first grotesque murder as other women have been victims of what increasingly looks like a serial killer. However, the Hanneford homicide has the first potential break though in the murder cases with a tie to an amateur theater troupe that leads to Brock and Kolla wondering whether the ugliness of the crime was not spontaneous out of control passion, but a rehearsed performance. As she digs deeper, DS Kolla places herself in danger from a culprit watching her every move closely. This is reprint of Kolla's first case working under the supervision of Brock. The story line is a terrific and fabulous police procedural starting with the opening chapter "Madonna without a Face" and continues throughout until the climax with its nod to Equus. Fans of the series will enjoy the first official Brock-Kolla collaboration as ALL MY ENEMIES affirms why this is one of the better long running British police procedurals. Harriet Klausner