Beneath The Streets – English thriller, with politicians, police, and prostitutes
It is February 1976, and the naked corpse of a young rent boy is fished out of a pond on Hampstead Heath. Since the police don’t seem to care, twenty-year-old Tommy Wildeblood – himself a former ‘Dilly boy’ prostitute – finds himself investigating.
Dodging murderous Soho hoodlums and the agents of a more sinister power, Tommy uncovers another, even more shocking crime: the senior politician Jeremy Thorpe has ordered the murder of his former male lover. The trail of guilt seems to lead higher still, and a ruthless Establishment will stop at nothing to cover its tracks.
In a gripping thriller whose cast of real-life characters includes Prime Minister Harold Wilson and his adviser Lady Falkender, Adam Macqueen plays ‘what if’ with Seventies political history – with a sting in the tail that reminds us that the truth can be just as chilling as fiction.
Available from Eye Books. Excerpt below
The door was booted in and a blinding bright light bathed us both for a fraction of a second, leaving the darkness afterwards more black than ever before. I could feel him go rigid, but I kept a firm grip on the part of him that had been rigid already, bracing my own legs so he was pinned where he stood. Besides, there was nowhere for him to go as the flashbulb went off again, and again, and a fourth time for luck. The figure in the doorway was so vast he filled it entirely: the wall behind offered no escape bigger than than the four-inch gap at the bottom or the glory-hole drilled by the bogroll dispenser. Unless he fancied flushing himself down the toilet itself, he was well and truly trapped.
‘Mr Terry Hopkins? Of 32 Leominster Gardens, NW9?’ The photographer spoke in a brisk, businesslike voice. From behind him came the sounds of a stampede as the cottage was vacated.
‘Wh-what?’ Hopkins was literally shrinking as he spoke. I let go of his rapidly deflating cock and turned sideways to yank up my trousers, taking my time with my belt buckle so I didn’t have to look in his direction.
‘Apologies for startling you, but I’m afraid it was necessary.’ The fat man tapped his camera and stood aside to let me slip past him and out of the cubicle, heading straight for the stairs. ‘Your wife’s solicitor will be in touch in a few days.’
I didn’t look back as I surfaced into the sharp cold of the winter evening. Women and men in hats and scarves milled along the pavement. A bus blasted past, its steamed-up windows aglow, commuters packed inside as tight as pilchards. I turned to my right and set off down at a brisk trot, wanting to put as much distance between myself and Mr Terry Hopkins of Leominster Gardens as I could. In the Shakespeare’s Head the drinkers were knocking back their pints obliviously; two separate worlds of men, both seeking out companionship, comfort and an escape from the daily grind, separated by just a few feet of concrete and the width of the world. The punters from the cottage had surfaced and dispersed back into anonymity, swallowed up by the city. At street level we can all pass for ordinary men.
I hurried under the big sign I had been so thrilled to recognise when I first came to London a few years earlier: Carnaby Street Welcomes the World. The shops were all shut, their interiors darkened, their frontages, once so fresh and exciting, now faded and worn. The brightly coloured patterned paving was blotted with piles of black rubbish bags awaiting collection. Welcome to London, 1976: try swinging if you must, but you’d better beware of the consequences.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.