By Allen Makepeace (Johnnie Johnson)
Available in e-book/Kindle format only.
E-book/Kindle version of ‘Winter Hunt‘
Murders in a bleak winter in the early years of nineteenth century England, a time of cold, rain and snow, when typhus takes lives and work is scarce, when there is little comfort for anyone. And the Winter Hunt is on, beginning with the search for the homeless seventeen-year-old Kitty Wallace, wanted by both the authorities and a fearsome criminal gang. When Will Peel, a cashiered army officer, steps into this mix of mayhem and murder, the pair must flee for their lives across a grim landscape.
The author takes the reader into a dark world of sordid inns and public houses; to dank prisons, workhouses and squalid tenements. and then there are the characters who people this adventure tale: the menacing convict Skimmington, the astute magistrate Mr Prout, the quack doctor Mr Sawsby, the mysterious Mr Heselton and that coolest of killers, the monstrous Teddy Kellett. Several of the incidents in the story are based on actual events.
Quotes from WINTER HUNT
An unsavoury character
… If word gets out that Aylott has money to throw about he’ll be attacked and robbed within twenty-four hours. He might even end up with a knife in his chest or a bullet in the head. Doesn’t do to brag about having any considerable sum of cash, not among those who Aylott regularly
mixes with …
A visit to prison
… As soon as the door is opened Mr Prout is assailed by the stench to which after all these years of regular prison-visiting he has never quite become accustomed. A sour, pungent, all-searching stink of people, of drains, of the ‘offices,’ which seem to him to somehow soak into his flesh, his hair, his very bones. And for hours after leaving, the reek of the place will linger on him and his clothes. He will never become used to it.
Nor will he ever accustom himself to the shouts, the curses, the screams in that great echoing place. At whatever time, the earliest hour of the day or the latest of the night, he has been called to the prison he has to steel himself against the unceasing clamour.
‘Here we are then, sir,’ the turnkey says, ushering him into the old pantry with its sweating walls, stained and encrusted with years of grime. And here behind an ancient table sits a man, his wrists manacled, his ankles
Kitty alone on the highway
… ‘Think carefully, young lady,’ Kitty is told. ‘You are not in a good situation. You are out here on a very dangerous stretch of road. You look to me as though you have not been in work for some time.’ The man pauses. ‘So,’ he says, ‘to alleviate your situation I can offer you some work though it may not necessarily be to your liking’ …
A body in the stable
… And there he is in the empty stall, in a sitting position, his eyes open, his mouth agape as if someone has just offered him a surprise gift. There is a thin, livid line round his neck and from it the slightest tickle of blood …
Skimmington the convict
… ‘Why is he here?’
‘Cause he ain’t safe nowhere outside. Ought to’ve been hanged years ago, things he’s done. Terrible things …’
Will Peel in danger
… It is then that Will feels the barrel of his pistol in his stomach. From somewhere Skimmington’s warning comes into to his head.
‘Jimmy Thatcher is a dangerous feller,’ Skimmington had said. ’Get near him and he’ll slip through your fingers though like as not that’ll be after he’s lifted your wallet or stuck a knife in you or put a pound of shot in your belly …’