Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Fatal Music by Peter Morfoot, a contemporary mystery novel set in the backstreets of Nice. It follows ‘Impure Blood’ in the Captain Darac series but I have it on good authority that it can be enjoyed as a standalone. Fatal Music is a welcomed addition to my shelves, and I’m delighted to be sharing an extract of the book with you today.
Captain Paul Darac of the Brigade Criminelle is called to a potential crime scene – an elderly woman found dead in her hot tub. At first it’s assumed that she died of natural causes, but a surprising link with Darac’s own life leads him to dig deeper. In doing so he uncovers disturbing proof that there may have been a motive to murder the woman, and there is no shortage of suspects. The investigation leads him from the world of fine art to the desperate poverty of the city’s high-rises. But it is among the winding streets of his own neighbourhood in Nice’s old town, the Babazouk, that Darac faces his severest test yet.
Closing her eyes, the woman rotated her pelvis and began sighing ‘Yes!’ in time with her partner’s thrusts. A moment later, ‘Yes!’ gave way to a crescendo of squeals as she went into her default orgasm. During it, she held up her wrist behind the man’s grunting head and glanced at her watch.
Forty-five minutes later, she was back in her apartment, enjoying a cigarette on the balcony. An al-fresco smoke was something she reserved for night time. By day, it just wasn’t relaxing: planes blasting in and out of Nice airport; the ricocheting rattle of trains; and worst of all, traffic screaming along the highway right under her nose. It was like having a front-row seat at a never-ending parade of fumes and noise. It might kill you eventually, she believed. A sort of drip-feed, drive-by slaying.
She took a deep drag on her cigarette and peered through the sprawl toward the marina. A breeze was rippling the inky black water, scattering silver necklaces of light between the hard white shells of yachts tied up at their moorings.
‘Would you like one of those boats?’ Léo had said to her just after she had moved in.
A penthouse in one of the quieter, swankier blocks nearby was what she really wanted; or a garden apartment at Villeneuve-Loubet further down the coast. In the meantime, somewhere without a stinking drag strip outside her window would do. At least she knew that was coming. And soon.
It had been a decent workday, although, for once, Full-on Freddie, the only client capable of giving her a genuine orgasm, had misfired badly. The evening had been given over to her favourite part of the job: escort work. Fixed-rate, one-shot-deal stuff. Tonight, the john had sprung for cocktails at Lapis in Juan-les-Pins, then on to dinner at Bleu in Antibes. After all that, he had managed less than two minutes on the job. She calculated how much she had made. On top of a free evening out, it came to eight hundred euros. Four for her, four for Léo.
Out in the marina, the breeze had stiffened, whipping rigging wires against their metal masts. It sounded like a round of applause.
About the author:
Peter Morfoot has written a number of plays and sketch shows for BBC radio and TV and is the author of the acclaimed satirical novel, Burksey. He has lectured in film, holds a PhD in Art History, and has spent thirty years exploring the life, art and restaurant tables of the French Riviera, the setting for his series of crime novels featuring Captain Paul Darac of Nice’s Brigade Criminelle. He lives in Cambridge.
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