Arwel Thomas, fourteen years old and in care at a Bangor children’s home, is found
naked and dead beside the railway track. Autopsy reveals that he suffered brutal
Staff at the children’s home and the local authority close ranks and mouths. Arwel’s
parents, cowed and terrified, want McKenna’s team to let things be. His fallen angel
of a sister tantalises but tells little, even when a girl goes missing from the home.
McKenna pursues a wealthy local man who took Arwel under his wing, to discover not
paedophilia but a searing personal tragedy. It is the ‘disappeared’, the boys who
mysteriously vanished from the home, who hold the key to Arwel’s murder.
The story is set in Bangor and Caernarfon.
A woman’s skeleton is found hanging in dense woodland outside Bangor. Her hands
are bound behind her back, in the manner of an execution. No one admits to knowing
who she was or where she came from, although young predator Jamie Thief has been
swanking about in her car for some time. Then Jamie, fallen foul of an even nastier
predator, is found dead in his squalid caravan.
Pursued by the malice of women, not least McKenna’s vengeful wife, the team struggle
to unravel the mystery of the hanged woman and the conspiracy of shameful secrets
that has blighted the life of innocent and guilty alike.
The story is set in Bangor and the surrounding area.
The House of Women
Scholarly Ned Jones, ageing and chronically infirm, is found mysteriously dead in
the house where he lodges with distant relative Edith Harris and her three daughters.
Autopsy reveals that he died from an allergic reaction to antibiotics that his GP
had not prescribed. Phoebe, Edith’s youngest daughter, is convinced Ned was murdered.
Closest to Ned, she knows he was neurotically careful about what he ingested.
His investigation hampered by the force politics that have deferred his promotion,
McKenna is drawn again and again to Edith’s house, to her and her daughters, especially
Phoebe, to Edith’s strange friendship with Professor Williams and his French trophy
wife, and to the remnants of Ned’s family in their decaying farm near Bala. And
then there is George, Celtic scholar, Ned’s great friend, and the wickedly sharp
thorn in Professor Williams’ side. Williams calls him a ‘jungle bunny’.
Ned’s story is about scholarship, ambition, greed, deceit, gullibility, and about
the stories told by pieces of paper, some very ancient. He died because he read
the story on some pieces of paper he was not supposed to see.
The novel was inspired by the eighteenth century literary feud between Edward Jones
and Iolo Morgannwg that erupted following publication of Barddoniaeth Dafydd ap Gwilym.