Why Write Who Kills A Nudist?

Astonishingly, there are only five customs and excise patrol boats operating for the entire coast of the UK, so the chances of being caught are slim.

The spark for this story came from newspaper reports about human trafficking, with illegal immigrants freed from slave labour in Cornwall. Kept prisoner by intimidation, violence and threats against their families back home, they were working for pennies as prostitutes, nail technicians and agricultural labourers. Saddled with a debt for being brought into the country, they were the cheapest of labour, open to abuse, exploitation and being murdered.

About this time, there were arrests made of body-builders trading in smuggled steroids, cocaine and heroin. Cornwall’s rugged coastline is ideal for concealing smugglers, with its isolated coves and unlit beaches. Astonishingly, there are only five customs and excise patrol boats operating for the entire coast of the UK, so the chances of being caught are slim.

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Sadly, Cornwall’s beaches, pounded by powerful waves, encourage swimmers and surfers to take risks. It’s usually holidaymakers who drown, ignoring warnings, but locals perish too taking to the waters in winter, when lifeguard cover is absent. About 25 people drown annually, their bodies washed ashore to be found by beachcombers and dog walkers. It’s not always certain if it’s an accident, suicide or foul play.

There are a dozen nudist beaches in Cornwall, none of them official, more accepted practice through decades of naturism. In plotting Who Kills A Nudist? the inciting incident is the discovery of a seemingly drowned elderly naturist, a man who would have known better than to venture into a tempestuous ocean at night.

I wondered what would happen if such an innocent soul, a pensioner who did charity work, clashed with an evil man who cared only for money.

Such a character is all too common these days, with the 1% of plutocrats exploiting the poor to gain yet more wealth. Cornwall is a strange county, in that it’s beautiful and the playground of the rich, including Royalty and show business stars, yet it’s among the fifty poorest areas of Europe. Wages are low, employment patchy and seasonal, dependent on tourism. Holiday homes owned by agencies and second homes, used for a few weeks of the year, are a source of resentment from locals who’ve been priced out of the property market by incomers.

There are always plenty of multi-million pound mansions for sale in the county, with expensive hotels, spas and restaurants, as well as luxury car dealers. The antagonist of my story yearns for the trappings of prosperity, selling supercars and limousines for a living. He intimidates and controls a gang of underlings through the use of sadomasochistic sex, men who are in positions of power as law personnel, customs officers and importers of foreign goods. They assist him in smuggling weapons, drugs and people.

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The scene is set for a struggle between my protagonist Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kettle representing law and order, a simple man who wants to restore tranquillity to society, and my antagonist Rupert Mansard, a devious man who cares only for dominion over the weak and the poor and acquiring money to reinforce his ego.

Book 1: Who Kills A Nudist?

A pensioner is found drowned on a beach used by naturists. An autopsy shows his death was violent, that he’d been sexually molested.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kettle is a grieving widower of three years. The last time he visited this beach was with his wife. Already running investigations into human trafficking and the smuggling of drugs and weapons, Neil’s enquiries into the victim’s life reveal links to a shady millionaire car dealer, Rupert Mansard, a man who’s risen from nowhere to prosperity.

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The reclusive car dealer is rumoured to be involved in gay BDSM, not an illegal activity, but he knows men of wealth and influence, including law enforcement officers. Guns and explosives are being brought in from Eastern Europe, by sea and air, to arm organised crime gangs. Desperate immigrants are sneaked into the country, forced to work as slaves to pay off their debt. Cornwall’s rugged coastland with sheltered coves, quiet rivers and inadequate customs patrols has favoured smugglers for centuries, and only the contraband has changed.

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The drowned man was found by an American photographer called Mish Stewart, who lives in a remote cabin overlooking the beach. Someone is stalking her, a shadowy man who could be their suspect Rupert Mansard. She’s separated and though Neil is still grieving, they get on well enough for him to imagine falling in love again one day.

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Huge profits are guarded with malevolence, destroying the innocent and the corrupt. Neil Kettle is pursuing men with assault rifles, who treat human life as a disposable commodity. Anyone and anything can be bought and sold. Mish, the only woman he’s cared about for years is under threat.

The car dealer isn’t intimidated by police interest in him, insulated by his wealth and insider knowledge about their investigation—someone is a traitor.

Then, a bullet is fired through Neil’s kitchen window.

Is he about to become a target?