Core of Evil
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A PREDATORY KILLER: Memories haunt Violet Chambers. Taking tea with her friend Daisy, she knows it's time to move on. As Daisy falls to the floor, eyes streaming, face burning, Violet calmly waits. Black hellebore is remarkably potent. It won't be long now.
A DAMAGED DETECTIVE: Diagnosed with a rare neurological condition, DCI Mark Lapslie is alienated from his family and considered unreliable by colleagues. Unable to work in close proximity to others, his career is seemingly at an end. Given a case no one else wants, this is his last chance.
A TERRIFYING DISCOVERY: As her crimes go undetected and the body count rises, Violet is losing touch with who she thinks she is. Will Lasplie get there in time? What will he find when he does?
CORE OF EVIL was previously published in hardback as STILL WATERS.
them when I first saw the body,’ she said. ‘When I radioed the details in, the Duty Officer typed them into the computer system. As soon as he typed the stuff in, a message flashed up with your name attached. Apparently you’ve seen this kind of thing before – a body with missing fingers.’ ‘Not as far as I can remember. Not a body, at any rate …’ And yet, there was something. The taste of lychees, and a vague memory of someone telling him about missing fingers. He deliberately moved the memory
on a strap over her shoulder cast sideways glances at the door of a house on the other side, hoping someone was going to come out. Violet practised those same darting looks under half-closed eyelids, knowing and yet not knowing that she was doing it. Yes, she loved watching people. But even more than that, she loved being them. Breakfast was a slice of toast with butter and a smear of marmalade along with a cup of tea – made with Daisy’s teabags, not the tea leaves she had brought with her the
dust and decay. Violet could tell the first time she walked in that nobody visited any more. That nobody cared any more. She pushed the shopping bag ahead of her, past the parlour and the dining room, and pushed open the door to the kitchen. Bordered by slide-door cupboards and melamine-covered work surfaces, it was more like a split-off section of the hall than a room in its own right. Tucked to one side by the cooker, just next to a china teapot, was the kitchen’s sole concession to the modern
folds beneath the chin, eyebrows that had been pencilled in, bags beneath the eyes, faded, cloudy irises. Something told Lapslie that if he ever managed to catch his killer, he could put her photograph up there and it would just blend in with the rest. Some of the photographs had names written in beneath them: Violet Chambers, of course; Daisy Winters; Deirdre Fincham; Alice Connell; Rhona McIntyre; Kim Stothard; Wendy Maltravers – identified by a combination of medical records, dental records
that the map showed, but there were green stickers amongst the red ones now, and the red stickers had numbers on them. Lapslie stood a little way away and just tried to take the information in. It hadn’t been obvious before, but now he could see there were clumps of red stickers around where the green ones were. It made sense: the killer got rid of a victim and moved into their house for a while, taking on their identity, and while she was there she had to take money out of whatever accounts she