Gripping mysteries that twist and turn!
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So, what is in a name?

It turns out to be quite a lot.

Slater and Norman have been asked to look into the seemingly innocent death of an elderly man found dead in his home. Tinton Police couldn’t close the case quick enough, but Slater and Norman are soon convinced there’s more to the story than first appears. When they begin to delve into the dead man’s past they quickly find themselves plunged into a web of deceit, lies, and danger which has spanned decades.

As if that wasn’t enough, Slater is locked in an internal struggle between his love of police work and his friendship with Norman, and he’s also determined to get to the bottom of another mystery – what happened to turn high-flying barrister Jenny Radstock into a down and out living on the streets of Tinton? 

Will they solve the mystery of Joe Dalgetty’s past, and will their new venture weather the storm?

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Slater & Norman are like chalk and cheese but they have this fantastic chemistry which is both serious and humorous as well.


Wednesday 24th August, 2016. 7.19 am

Joe Dalgetty was sixty-two years old, but he looked like a man in his eighties. This was partly due to the arthritis that was slowly destroying his mobility, but if anyone had asked – and been given an honest reply – he would have told them the biggest cause of his early ageing was worry – and loneliness. Not that anyone ever did bother to ask. Joe kept himself to himself, and apart from his neighbour and friend Rosie Hewitt, he rarely spoke to anyone. Becoming a loner had been an unforeseen – and unavoidable – price he had had to pay. It wasn’t the only thing he had come to regret, and it was these burdens from his past, added to his enforced loneliness, that had aged him so.

Joe was in the habit of doing his shopping very early in the morning to avoid meeting too many people. There was a supermarket about half a mile away from his house, and he made a point of being there at seven o’clock in the morning, as soon as the doors opened. He had it down to a fine art now, and he could be in and out in less than fifteen minutes. He had worked out the quietest days to go, and by avoiding eye contact with any member of staff who tried to engage him in conversation, and going to a different cashier each time, he was quite confident he was more or less unmemorable, which was exactly what he wanted.

That morning, the doors had opened a few minutes early, and as he had been in there barely ten minutes, he was back at his own front door just before seven twenty.


It would be fair to say Kerry Jones had lost his way. Just two years ago he had been a kid with a bright future, but now, at just eighteen years old, he seemed to have no future at all. His parents were in despair. They had no idea why their son had suddenly gone from hard worker to non-worker. He hadn’t just dropped out of school; he seemed to have dropped out of everything. They didn’t know where he got his money from, but they were quite sure it wasn’t in exchange for an honest day’s work. There had been a spate of burglaries locally targeting older people, and although they had no proof, they feared the worst.

That morning, Kerry was breaking into the house of an old guy he had identified as an easy target. The old man went shopping early in the morning at the same time, on the same days, every week, and he moved pretty slowly, like he couldn’t walk properly. Today was the day Kerry had selected to rob this particular victim, and he knew this was going to be really easy. He looked at his watch as he reached the old man’s back door. It was almost seven twenty. He should have at least ten minutes. That would be plenty of time.

He tried the handle of the back door to the old man’s house and gently leaned against it. The silly old fool hadn’t even locked it. This was good. The old guy was inviting someone to come in and rob him, and Kerry was only too happy to oblige. It wasn’t his fault if people didn’t lock their doors, was it?

He eased the door open and slipped inside.


Joe Dalgetty pushed the key into his front door and twisted. The key turned with almost no effort on his part. The old lock had become so stiff he could hardly turn it, but this new lock he’d paid to have fitted was as smooth as silk. It had been worth every penny. He pushed the door open and stepped painfully inside. His knees were bad this morning, but in a minute or so he would be able to sit down and take the weight off them. Silently, he closed the door behind him and turned to walk down the short, narrow hallway into the kitchen. An unexpected movement caught his eye, and he realised there was someone standing in his kitchen staring at him.

The shock seemed to turn him to stone. He had always worried this might happen one day, and now it seemed his worst nightmare had come true. Somehow they had tracked him down, and now they’d come for him. It was a case of flight or fright, but flight was never going to be an option for Joe. It was fright that won through. In the same moment he realised he’d been found out, he felt a stabbing pain in his chest. He clutched at his heart as he fell, gasped once from the pain, and was dead before he hit the ground.


Kerry Jones stood, mouth agape, staring at the fallen man. He couldn’t quite believe his eyes, and a jumble of thoughts rushed into his head. What was going on? This wasn’t supposed to happen. What was the stupid old fool doing back early? He shouldn’t have been back for at least another ten minutes. And what was he doing on the floor, clutching his chest? Shit. He’d had a heart attack or something, hadn’t he? They’ll think I did that. But I don’t hurt people, I don’t even take their possessions, I only ever steal cash they leave lying around.

Knowing he was close to panic, Kerry focused on regaining control of himself. This was a serious and unexpected situation to have to deal with, but that just made it all the more important to keep calm. He wasn’t going to allow himself to lose it now. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and concentrated on his breathing, making sure to take long, deep breaths. Then, as he began to calm down, he opened his eyes and took in the scene again. Now he could assess the situation with a much more detached eye, it was easy to decide what he should do.

The old man hadn’t moved, and he didn’t appear to be breathing. A small part of Kerry suggested he should do something to help, but a much bigger part realised there would be a lot of explaining to do if he hung around. Almost reluctantly, he turned and quietly tiptoed back across the kitchen and out through the back door. It was a shame he hadn’t had time to find any cash, but at least he hadn’t left any evidence. With any luck, no one would even realise he had been there, and the obvious assumption would be that the old guy had suffered a heart attack.

As he slunk away from the unfortunate Joe Dalgetty’s house, Kerry sought to rationalise what had just happened. People have heart attacks all the time, and he couldn’t be held responsible for someone having a weak heart, could he? If the old bloke did have a weak heart, it would have packed up sooner or later anyway. So, really, when you think about it, there was no real harm done. In fact, he’d probably done the old bloke a favour, because it looked as if he was living a pretty miserable, lonely existence anyway.

But despite his attempts to justify his behaviour, Kerry experienced a strange, alien feeling. Most people would have instantly recognised it as guilt, but for Kerry this was a new experience, and its meaning was lost on him. He knew it made him feel uncomfortable, but he had no idea why. He was going to have to think about that.


It was a typically busy Monday lunchtime in The Brewer’s Arms, just a short walk from the centre of the small town of Tinton. The air was filled with the smell of good food and the voices of noisy punters trying to make the most of their all-too-short lunch breaks.

Unnoticed, a small, tidy, fair-haired lady pushed the door open and stepped inside. She looked around, taking in as many faces as she could, but as she didn’t really know who she was looking for, it wasn’t much help. Her resolve began to waver momentarily, but then she remembered exactly why she had come here and, drawing herself up to her full height of five feet three-and-a-half inches, she marched determinedly up to the bar.

‘Excuse me,’ she said to the barman, who looked up and smiled at her.

‘Yes, love, what can I do for you?’

‘I wonder if you can help me?’

She explained who she was looking for, and the barman looked around the busy bar. Finally, he pointed to two figures sitting at a table by a window on the far side of the bar. The lady looked uncertainly over her shoulder, following the direction indicated by the pointed finger. Then she thanked the barman, bought a glass of orange juice, and made her way towards the two figures. She had thought the barman must have been mistaken when he pointed out the two overall-clad figures, but as she approached, she could see one was clearly much larger than the other, which was what she had been told to expect.

‘Are you the two detectives?’ she asked as she reached the table.

The larger, rather roly-poly, man was the first to turn towards her, his curly hair making a valiant attempt to conform to some sort of style, but failing miserably and falling across his face as he turned.

‘That’s us,’ he said, sweeping the curls out of his eyes.

‘If you don’t mind me saying, you look more like decorators,’ she said.

‘Good disguise, huh?’ said the curly-headed man with a conspiratorial wink. ‘We’re undercover.’

The second man had turned towards her now, and he gave her a warm smile.

‘Don’t take any notice of him,’ he said. ‘We’re not undercover at all, we’re decorating our new offices. My name’s Dave Slater, and this is my colleague, Norman Norman. Here, come and sit down.’


Slater moved his own chair to one side and placed one for her between himself and Norman.

‘My name’s Rosie Hewitt,’ the woman said, sitting down. ‘I was told you were the best people to talk to.’

‘Oh really?’ said Norman. ‘Who told you that?’

‘A detective. I forget what he said his name was.’

‘DS Biddeford?’ suggested Slater.

She looked horrified. ‘It certainly wasn’t that ignorant so-and-so!’ she said, adamantly. ‘He didn’t even want to talk to me. No, this was a much nicer man. Smarter dressed, he was, too. He had a very smart suit. Pinstripes, you know? And he had nice manners.’

Slater looked at Norman, but it was obvious he didn’t recognise the description either.

‘We both used to work at Tinton,’ said Norman, ‘but we don’t recognise anyone like that. Then again, things are changing there, so maybe it’s someone new. Anyway, why would he suggest you came to us?’

‘All he said was the police couldn’t help me, but you two were retired police officers and maybe you could.’

Slater and Norman exchanged another glance.

‘Why don’t you tell us what’s bothering you?’ suggested Norman, before adding, ‘Don’t worry, we won’t charge you for talking to us.’

The look on her face told him she hadn’t even thought about that, but it soon passed.

‘Seven weeks ago,’ she began, ‘my friend and neighbour Mr Dalgetty was found lying dead in his hallway. He’d had a heart attack.’

‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ said Norman. ‘How old was he?’

‘Sixty-two. At least that’s what he said he was.’

‘He’s the right sort of age,’ said Slater. ‘These things can happen without warning. Did he have a problem with his heart?’

She thought about this for a moment. ‘I know he had arthritis in his knees, but as far as I knew, he had no heart problems. He certainly never mentioned it, and I’m sure he would have. I mean, he was always going on about his knees. Anyway, the police were called and there was a post-mortem. They concluded it was a case of accidental death.’

‘You don’t sound convinced,’ observed Norman.

‘Well, I might have been,’ she said, ‘but since he died, some funny things have happened. I told the police, but they seem to think I’m round the bend. The only one who seemed to take me even slightly seriously was a young slip of a girl, although she didn’t seem to be able to help me, and then there was this other one who told me about you two.’

Slater knew the ‘young slip of a girl’ would be DC Naomi Darling who, despite being in her twenties, still managed to look about sixteen, but he still couldn’t put a face to the mysterious male detective. He was sure he couldn’t possibly have forgotten someone who wore a pinstriped suit to work.

‘So what are these funny things?’ asked Norman.

‘Well, first of all, there was his will. He had no relatives so he left everything to me.’

‘Was that a surprise?’ 

‘I’ll say it was. I’d known him for over five years, and in all that time he’d given me the impression he struggled to make ends meet, yet he left me twenty-five thousand pounds! Where would he get that sort of money from? And if he had it, why live like a pauper?’

‘Maybe he just didn’t like to spend his money,’ suggested Slater. ‘Perhaps he preferred to keep it in the bank.’

‘But he didn’t trust banks. He thought they were just there to bleed us all dry. He said he only kept an account open so he could have his pension paid in to it.’

‘Perhaps that’s how he saved all that money.’ Norman rubbed his chin. ‘Maybe he didn’t need to touch the pension and it just grew over a few years.’

‘But he told me his pension was all he had. That’s why he lived so frugally.’

‘I understand it must have been a surprise,’ said Slater, ‘but he wouldn’t be the first person to live like that and have a small fortune stashed away somewhere.’

‘No.’ Rosie shook her head firmly. ‘I can’t see it. He couldn’t even afford to put the heating on half the time. No one would choose to live like that if they had money, especially when there’s no family to pass it on to.’

‘You must have meant a lot to him,’ said Norman.

‘I think I was his only friend,’ she said. ‘I used to do little jobs for him, and if his arthritis was really bad I’d get some bits for him when I was doing my own shopping, you know? The solicitor told me Joe had left it to me for my kindness, but I would have done it for any friend, I didn’t expect a reward for it.’

‘People have been left a lot more for doing a lot less,’ said Slater.

‘Yes, but the solicitor told me Joe had only made his will a couple of weeks before he died. It’s as if he knew he was going to die, and he’d set it up ready.’

Slater glanced at Norman. He could see his partner’s interest was growing, just like his own.

‘You said some funny things had happened, as in more than one, Rosie,’ said Norman. ‘Tell us what else.’

‘A couple of weeks after he was buried, someone was in his house.’

‘What, you mean you saw someone?’ asked Slater.

‘No, I didn’t see anyone, but I know someone had been in there.’

‘Did you call the police?’ asked Norman.

She sighed. ‘Yes, and a fat lot of good that was. They said the house hadn’t been broken into and as far as they could see, nothing was missing. The thing is, there’s someone going round breaking into old people’s houses and stealing cash. According to them, if anyone had been in his house, that’s who it was. They said as I couldn’t say for sure if anything was missing, and it didn’t look as if anyone had broken in, they couldn’t really do much about it.’

‘If there was no damage and no sign of a break-in,’ said Slater, ‘why are you so sure someone had been inside?’

‘Because everything had been gone through!’ Rosie fixed Slater with a piercing stare. ‘I’ve heard about this person who breaks into old people’s houses. He’s only looking for cash. He never takes anything else, and he only seems to check kitchens and bedrooms. Now, I know someone was in that house and they went everywhere.’

‘How can you be sure?’ asked Slater.

Rosie drew herself up and flashed him a look that immediately made him regret opening his mouth.

‘When he died, I went around there and cleaned the place and made sure it was all neat and tidy. I didn’t actually take an inventory, but I know damned well someone has been in there and gone through everything!’

‘I’m sorry,’ said Slater. ‘I’m not trying to suggest you don’t know what you’re talking abou—’

‘I had enough of this with the police,’ she said. ‘I was hoping you might be prepared to hear me out.’

‘We are prepared to listen, Rosie,’ said Norman, soothingly, ‘but you have to understand – we need to ask questions too. We just want to make sure we don’t miss anything. I’m sorry if that means we sound a little like the police, but that is where we did our training. I promise you, we’re not trying to question what you say. We just like to be thorough, and that’s why we’re pretty good at what we do. That’s why you came to us, right?’

This seemed to placate her, and she visibly relaxed.

‘Has anything else happened we should know about?’ continued Norman.

‘Yes,’ she said. ‘My own house was broken into just last week.’

‘Jeez,’ said Norman. ‘Did they do much damage?’

‘Well. . .’ Rosie’s cheeks went slightly pink. ‘When I say someone broke in, what I really mean is – someone let themselves in.’

‘Ah!’ said Slater. ‘You leave a key outside?’

She nodded her head and sighed. ‘Under a flowerpot by the back door,’ she admitted. ‘And I know what you’re going to say, so spare me the lecture.’

‘Did you call the police?’

‘I did, and they told me the same thing about this man who steals from pensioners again. I said I thought it was too much of a coincidence, but they just reminded me what they had told me before. When I pointed out there was cash in the kitchen drawer that hadn’t been touched, they insisted I must have disturbed the burglar before he got that far. That seemed a bit funny to me because whoever had been in there had been inside long enough to go through all my drawers and cupboards upstairs. But then I’m just a stupid old woman. What do I know?’

‘Is that when this other officer told you to contact us?’ asked Slater.

Rosie nodded. ‘Yes, that’s right. That ignorant detective sergeant. . . Biddeford, is it? He seemed to think I was just wasting his precious time. I think it was beneath his dignity to use his breath on the likes of a silly old fool like me, and it was obvious he thought they should be doing something much more important. The nice man came next day and told me they couldn’t do anything because their hands were tied, whatever that meant, but then he said I should come and see you two.’

‘Did you get his name?’

‘I’m afraid not. I’m not sure he ever actually mentioned it.’

‘Okay,’ said Norman. ‘Not to worry. I’m sure we’ll be able to find him. If he made a special journey to see you, he must think there’s something worth looking into.’

‘What about you, Mr Norman, and you, Mr Slater?’ Rosie looked at each in turn. ‘Do you think there’s something worth looking into? I can pay, you know. I’ve got a spare twenty-five thousand pounds, and I want to know what’s going on.’

Slater looked at Norman. Like everything else to do with how their business was going to work, what they were going to charge was something they hadn’t actually discussed yet.

‘Err, well, look, let’s not worry about costs just yet,’ said Norman, hastily. He looked at Slater, who nodded his approval. ‘If this other police officer thinks there’s more to this than meets the eye, I think we’re both inclined to think we should take a look. But first we need to understand this other officer’s suspicions.’

‘It’ll be useful if he can give us some insight into this guy who’s stealing cash from old folks too,’ said Slater. ‘If what he can tell us backs up what you’ve told us about the person who broke into your house and your friend’s house, then I think we’ve got somewhere to start.’

For the first time since she had come into the pub, Rosie smiled. ‘Thank you both for listening to me and not making me feel like a silly old fool who’s just wasting your time,’ she said. ‘What happens now?’

‘We’ll try to arrange a meeting with this officer as soon as we can,’ said Norman. ‘If you can let us have your address and phone number, we’ll get in touch as soon as we’ve spoken to him.’

She stood, ready to leave, and they stood with her.

‘There is one more thing I’d like to ask,’ said Slater. ‘Did Joe ever ask you to look after anything for him?’

‘I don’t think so,’ she said, thoughtfully. ‘No, I’m sure he didn’t.’

He gave her a reassuring smile. ‘Okay. Not to worry.’

‘We’ll be in touch in a day or two,’ said Norman, as he ushered her back out through the pub and onto the street.


‘Are we actually ready to take on a job?’ asked Slater, once Rosie was gone and Norman was back in his seat. ‘I mean the paint’s barely dry, and we’ve got no computers or anything—’

‘And basically we have no idea how anything’s going to work because we haven’t actually discussed it yet,’ finished Norman, pointedly.

‘Well, yeah, and that too,’ agreed Slater, sheepishly.

When the idea of setting up in business together had first been suggested, it had seemed like a great idea, but Slater’s initial enthusiasm had quickly faded, and now he’d had time to think about it, he wasn’t so sure it really was what he wanted to commit to. As a result, he was feeling extremely guilty. If he didn’t join Norm, he felt he would be letting him down, but if he did join him and then found he didn’t like it, he’d be letting him down again. Which was worse? It was a real dilemma.

‘Having said all that,’ said Norman, ‘I think it would be wrong to turn a job down. We can still ask questions, and we have your laptop. We’ll be fine, you’ll see.’

Slater wasn’t convinced, but before he had a chance to voice his concerns, Norman spoke again.

‘Have you any idea who this detective in the pinstriped suit is?’

‘Not a clue,’ said Slater. ‘The only thing I can think is that they’ve drafted someone in from Merryton while they’re closing Tinton down, but even then, I thought I knew everyone from over there, and I’m sure no one wears a pinstriped suit.’

‘Let me see if I can get hold of Naomi.’ Norman reached for his mobile phone. ‘Maybe she can tell us who this guy is.’

DC Naomi Darling, the ‘slip of a girl’ Rosie had mentioned earlier, was a former colleague of Slater and Norman and seemed to be the only person at their old station who didn’t resent the two of them. She was usually happy to offer them help if she could.

While Norman called Darling, Slater went across to the bar and bought two more pints. As he walked back to their table, he could see a frown creasing Norman’s face as he spoke into his phone.

‘Naomi asks if we’re sure Rosie’s not senile,’ said Norman, as he ended the call and placed his phone back on the table.

Slater’s only response was to raise a single eyebrow.

‘She says she’s never seen anyone over there dressed in anything that could even vaguely be described as smart, or a suit, and certainly not in pinstripes. And, no, they haven’t had anyone drafted in from anywhere else.’

‘Rosie seemed to have a full set of marbles to me,’ said Slater.

‘Yeah,’ said Norman. ‘I thought so too, so I wonder who this guy is?’

‘It’s going to be a bit difficult to find out what he knows if we don’t even know who he is.’

‘Yeah,’ agreed Norman. ‘The pinstripe guy does seem to be a bit of a mystery, but Naomi assures me there’s only been her and Biddeford involved so she doesn’t see how anyone else could have known what to say to Rosie.’

‘Are we starting off in the dark then?’ asked Slater.

Norman smiled. ‘I thought of that, and I’ve got it covered. Naomi’s going to come over later and fill us in with what she knows.’

‘You’d better go and find your wallet then, because Naomi drinks like a fish and I’ve just paid for lunch, so you’ll be buying later.’

Books in the Slater & Norman series

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