a terrible enemy
Year after year, the villagers near Stanton Moor celebrate May Day with bonfires and the laying of rowan branches to seek protection for home and cattle. But the men who gathered this May evening hadn’t come for blessings. They had come for murder. The dead body is discovered on a lonely moor, decapitated in the fashion of a Muslim killing of sacrificial sheep or chickens. Which focuses the suspicion on the Muslim community, since the victim and his family are Pakistanis. Does someone in the village resent these outsiders? Or is their small import shop too much competition for another local business?

The CID Team from the Derbyshire Constabulary are called in to investigate and soon a series of decapitated animals--sheep and rabbits--appears on the moor. Is the sheep, the style of death or the location linked with the man’s murder?

Though the man’s wife shows no emotion to Det-Sgt Brenna Taylor, she does observe that, “If [his murder] had been a simple act of anger, Aakesh might be dead, but to be left this way…. This suggests it is a greater anger than results from letting our dog howl. The act speaks of a terrible enemy.”

Several days later a local store owner is assaulted and his store vandalized ⎯ an attempt by another businessman to kill the competition, literally? Or is there a link between the men or their import shops?

Any seasoned police detective knows that during a murder inquiry the inevitable nutter confesses to the crime. Whether guilty or not. But the Team seems to have attracted a particularly persistent oddball, for he constantly pesters them with murder confessions and demands to be taken to jail. Could he actually be as guilty as he claims? Perhaps he's merely trying to divert the spotlight from someone else.

As fear over a second murder grips the villagers, the Team soon discovers this dead man may have had connections with the local bed-and-breakfast establishment and an organization that smuggles illegal products into Britain. That is bad enough, but the smuggling turns from a mere criminal case to something that hits closer to home for Brenna.

And through the tangle of smugglers, murder, village secrets and a marriage proposal, Brenna fights to keep focused on the case and nab the one person who may be responsible for the trail of villainy that threatens the lives of everyone--cop and villager alike--connected with the moorland murders.
Read a Review:

The Seven Sisters, a Stone Circle from Druid times, and scene of May Day Beltane fires lends an air of eerie mystery to the grisly murders of two of Sutton Morley's fine citizens.  The peaceful village of Sutton Morley, itself, hides sinister undercurrents, unexpected in this isolated corner of the UK.

This Taylor and Graham police procedural leads us inexorably toward the discovery of the Terrible Enemy Brenna Taylor seeks.  A mystery reflecting cultural superstitions and having international implications, this story involves modern-day smugglers and secrecy.

In this story, Hiestand raises awareness of global issues, layered in the unfolding of this grisly whodunit.  And, the mystery continues, for once we know whodunit, we must follow through to the capture.  This intriguing mystery is well worth the reader's time.  Finally, we must ask, who is really the Terrible Enemy?

Sherry Benic