Hello! I am so pleased to announce that the eighth book in the Inspector Graham series, The Case of Sampson's Leap has hit the Amazon shelves. Please read on. There is an extract from the book below, purchase links, and what to do if you haven't tried this series yet.
The Case of Sampson's Leap is available on Kindle, in paperback, and is in Kindle Unlimited.
The Case of Sampson's Leap
UNDER A THREATENING sky the color of burnished lead, Freddie Solomon urged his group of half a dozen tourists along the rough seashore path, toward the beach at the foot of the cliff. They chattered with expectation, excited that Freddie had secured “special permission” for them to be there. Only now, at low tide, was the beach even visible, and in just a few hours it would be claimed again by the same foam-topped waves that had battered the cliffs for millennia.
“Watch your feet, please,” Freddie said, pointing out jagged crevices and patches of slippery rock. “I’ve never lost anyone on a tour, and I don’t intend to start today.” The group followed his steps, pausing on the higher rocks to let waves advance, then recede, before moving on again. At low tide, there was no real danger, except for the indignity of having to walk back to Gorey in trousers the lower legs of which had been soaked by the cold Channel, but Freddie wasn’t averse to manufacturing a little faux danger to add to the frisson of the experience. So far, the group had faithfully obeyed his safety briefing.
Freddie turned and gestured for the group to assemble on a flat stretch of rock that emerged above the waves for only a handful of hours each day. Behind him was the equally temporary sandy beach, entirely dwarfed by its surroundings. For, looming above them like some misshapen, haphazard cathedral was the great cliff face known as Sampson’s Leap.
“You’ve all heard the legend,” Freddie began. “But hardly anyone gets to see exactly where it happened.” Phones and cameras punctuated his presentation with a combination of old-fashioned clicks and soft digital beeps. “One hundred seventy-five years ago, almost to the day”—Freddie glanced at his watch for emphasis—”a man stood on that cliff top facing the most terrible moment of his life.” He watched his audience, their gazes swinging up to take in the immense sweep of rock that filled the gloomy sky. Like a great tower at risk of losing its battle with gravity, the cliff leaned toward the Channel so that a vertiginous awning of ancient stone hid its grassy crest from onlookers. Professional rock climbers rated it an eleven out of ten. A gut-curdling prospect, it had never been scaled in its entirety. The journey around the overhang to the top placed an intolerable strain on the human body and proved terrifying for the mind, such that it had never been ventured.
Once six pairs of eyes again fixed on him, Freddie continued. “It’s a fate too terrible to imagine,” he warned, “but let’s try. There you are, running a moderately successful business as an apothecary, traveling between the islands, selling medicines, or”—he smirked—”a range of tinctures and potions of supposed benefit to one’s health, you’ve had no trouble with the law, and many of your customers return again and again. So why on earth, on a day probably much similar to this one, in the mid-1800s, could you have found yourself accosted by an angry mob, dragged to the top of the cliff and, with a pistol pressed into your back, ordered to jump?”
To Freddie’s quiet delight, one of the women in the group visibly shuddered. He enjoyed creating these tense moments of drama, although it was equally likely the woman’s hiking boots had just filled with water and she was simply miserably cold. Behind her stretched the dark-green sea, moody beneath the gloomy sky which seemed ready to enclose them like the lid of a coffin. How perfect.
Flicking his gaze up to the sky, Freddie noted he needed to get a move on. “Had this poor man, whom we know as one Charles Villiers Sampson, committed an atrocious crime? Something unspeakable? Something truly ghastly?” The tourists imagined for a half-moment, then Freddie pressed on. “Could he have slain a clergyman, or locked his unfaithful wife in a burning house? Or worse still, betrayed state secrets to the beastly French?” His group enjoyed the barb, one he included only when he’d confirmed everyone’s origin, lest he inadvertently put a Gallic nose out of joint.
“I’m afraid to say,” Freddie said, drawing his audience in as though sharing a long-kept secret with the group, though there wasn’t another soul for at least a mile, “that Mr. Sampson had to defend himself against accusations of the most heinous crimes, the kind that can stain the soul of a place.” His audience leaned in, listening for Freddie’s thin voice as he labored to make himself heard over the noise of the waves that beat at the rocks behind him. “You see, friends, Mr. Sampson was accused that day of murder.
“The magistrate informed a large crowd, gathered to watch the punishment, that Sampson was not just once a killer, or twice, but thrice.” Appalled now at his own story, Freddie stumbled over the definitive fact: “Charles Sampson was convicted of the murder”—he almost choked—”of women.” Even their phones were still as the six tourists huddled together, rapt and silent.
“The evidence was damning. The three young women were,” Freddie continued, scanning the group before alighting on the youngest, a gleaming-eyed, blond teenager, “well, no older than you are now. The townsfolk quickly established that Sampson was a deranged serial killer, bent on revenge.” The group trembled at Freddie’s use of the word “serial,” deliberately chosen to evoke the psychotic, the unreasoning, the demented.
“Those poor, poor girls,” someone muttered, only to receive quick, silencing glances from the others.
“On Sampson’s final, fateful visit to Gorey,” Freddie said, “he administered to them a special potion of his own devising. But this was neither a harmless skin lotion, nor a hearty expectorant. It was a deadly poison.”
What reviewers are saying…
“Another superb mystery set in the picturesque town of Gorey.”
“I am enamored with the characters of this series. Watching them grow and their lives unfold as they solve mysteries makes this so much more than a mystery series.”
“Alison Golden is so very good at creating a story that not only holds your attention but also creates a picture in your mind and has you solving a current-day mystery and puzzle from the past.”
“Lots of suspects! Lots of motives! Characters that you want to get to know better. Beautifully written to grab and hold your attention.”
Please check out other reviews on Amazon here.
Do you need to catch up?
The second box set in the Inspector Graham collection contains the fifth, sixth, and seventh books in the series. At $9.99 it represents a significant saving over buying the individual books.
The Case of the Missing Letter
The Case of the Pretty Lady
The Case of the Forsaken Child
And if you've never tried this series…
…try out The Case of the Screaming Beauty which comes free as part of my starter library.
The starter library comes with your subscription to my mailing list and includes the first books in each of my four series:
The Case of the Screaming Beauty
Chaos in Cambridge (an Insider exclusive, not available anywhere else)
Mardi Gras Madness
I do hope you enjoy The Case of the Sampson's Leap. It was a pleasure to write it for you. I love it and I hope you will too. As we go into the holiday season, stay safe out there and happy reading!