This is the 42nd Novella in the Series that detail the life and career of Murder Squad Detective Joseph Lind. He is now the proud father of two young daughters, Aleesha and Samantha.
His long-term partner, Shelley Anne Shields is off work on Recuperative/Comp Leave after again damaging her shoulder which required further surgery. He is once again, paired with the effervescent and enthusiastic young Detective, Sasha Blayney.
The pair are flung into a world of pain when Fate decrees them three brutal Cases of child neglect, abuse and murder.
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What makes us good parents? Caring, nurturing, and guiding our children, preparing them to become lovable and responsible parents themselves?
What makes a person a child killer?
The three Cases have far-reaching effects not just on Lind and Blayney, but every person dealing with the aftermath of the human brutality, depravity and cold-hearted ambivalence shown by certain persons towards those most vulnerable in Society.
He was an old bloke with the aid of a cane, taking his daily stroll as he had done so for as long as people could remember. Hobbling around the large Parkland on the formed smooth concrete pathways when the weather was fine. Sitting when necessary on the hard park-bench seats to catch his breath and to look at the beautiful surrounds.
No-one seemed to notice him except for those whom he tipped his hat to.
He'd invariably walked around the Park on the meandering pathway, past the Kiddie Playground and onto the small Lake where he would sit for a while watching the myriad bird-life enjoy their day. After a breather, he would double back. Sometimes to sit on one of those hard Park-bench seats under the shade of a tree to watch the Mothers' Club care for their little off-spring like Lionesses eyeing their cubs at play. Not wanting them to venture too far away from their alert eye. Keeping that eye open for accidents, grazed knees or supposed bullying tactics by another little one trying to question the pecking order of all those gathered.
He was harmless, the oft said word. A lovely old man.
A gentleman, who gave a smile, a tip of the hat or a cheery good morning to all he passed or saw. Invariably dressed in clean, pressed clothes. A coat and tie. A hat like that they used to wear between the Wars. If the weather warm, perhaps a smart vest or a sleeveless cardigan.
He even lifted a four-year-old girl onto his shoulders so that she could retrieve some toy locked in the embrace of a nearby tree, on this particular fine, sunny morning.
Mothers smiled. Thanking him profusely. Thanking him for being so kind and thoughtful.
If the truth be known, he could have whacked it down with his walking stick, instead of unsteadily raising the young child onto his shoulders. It may have made him happy, yet he thought that he would be paying for it for days to come. He scolded himself under his breath for doing such a stupid thing. Sore shoulders and back his payment for such a simple, kind act.
He hobbled quickly towards his home, his shoulders, neck and back telling him what a stupid thing he had done.
What an old dear, was the chorus from the mums seated nearby...not realising his pain. Moments later, that same three and a half-year-old little girl went missing...suddenly disappearing from the Playground area. It took them less than five minutes to notice. Half an hour later that urgent call from the distraught mothers to the local Police Station to muster a search party. To comb the large park that extended off to the north and west from this lovely little Kiddie Corner that was a favourite for several Mothers' Groups on fine, sunny days. In the meantime, while waiting for a Police response, the worried mothers arranged a search party of their own, unknowingly crawling over any vital trace evidence that may have been present. Left by the unknown Assailant.
Luckily it was the local Uniforms who found the small, lifeless body less than one hundred metres from the playground. Tossed into the tall reed beds that lined one of the lakes in the Park.
The little bundle with the curly dark locks had had her throat cut.
So savagely, she was almost beheaded.
The lower regions of her genitalia a bloodied mess.
Knife thrusts rendered the area almost impossible to identify.
Even the Police horrified at the savagery of the attack.
Clem 'Lofty' Hills Series:
Murder Squad Series: