We use the word beauty in many different scenarios and situation, but could we ever use it to describe death? In Glimpse, the Beautiful Deaths, criminal psychologist Patricia Holmes, attached to the Major Crime Squad of the Western Australian Police Department does.
That’s a beautiful dress, we might say, or what a beautiful day, those flowers are beautiful, that child has a beautiful personality, she has a beauty spot on her cheek……….You get the idea for how often we can use the adjective. I’ve even heard sports commentators say what a beautiful shot, he’s swimming beautifully and once, in a heavyweight boxing match, what a beautiful knock out punch.
It seems to me to be over-used, and in some cases is completely opposite from what the word actually means. Patricia Holmes, asks us to consider beauty in its purest form. She describes a man who has an obsession to own and possesses beautiful things so badly it leads to six cases of murder.
During a meeting with homicide detectives where she delivers the profile of the man they are hunting, she nicknames him Gordon. She urges the men to think of him that way; an ordinary man, not a master criminal or Serial Killer. She believes he doesn’t even consider what he has done to be murder and she poses the riddle to the men: When is a serial killer not a murderer?
The bodies of six young girls, each of them the epitome of beauty when they were alive, have been found in a cave system in the South of the State. Malnourished, dehydrated and showing no signs of violence, they appear to have wasted away until death overtook them. Then, they were interred in the caves, each with flowers left with them, at an average of once every year or so.
The caves are hard to get to, and located near a breathtakingly beautiful place called The Blue Lake, and Pat thinks it is the beauty of the place which led him to bring the bodies there. She describes how she believes Gordon had a hideous life since childhood; that he was born a gentle, caring, artistic child who was treated abysmally by one or both parents. She says they would have said things to him like: “Your bloody useless Gordon, why can’t you ever do anything right Gordon, you’re not trying hard enough Gordon.” She further thinks he wanted to follow his artistic ideals but received nothing but criticism and ridicule from the two people who should have encouraged it. They stifle him, yet he is too downtrodden to resist or even speak up for himself. Instead, he develops his passion for beauty in things like gardening and collecting things which to him signify true beauty. Pat predicts he has a secret room where he can indulge himself and enjoy all the beautiful things he isn’t permitted outside his secret world. He will collect things like African Butterflies, postage stamps, or porcelain dolls, paintings – anything which allows him to forget how ugly his real life is. He lives in a fantasy world, far removed from his real life.
She goes further, by saying Gordon tried to escape when he married, but being so meek and mild he would have attracted a dominant woman, and for him, it would have been a case of out of the frying pan, into the fire. She will be even worse, she predicts that his parents were, and she forbids the beauty he craves which is denied him.
And so, Sargent Rick McCoy, with Patricia Holmes and the rest of the task force hunt a man addicted to beauty. They believe when he came across each stunningly beautiful young girl, he had to own and possess them, to capture the very essence of them, to idolise them. But when they were imprisoned, they were no longer free, and they ceased to be what they were before he took them. They slowly lost the one thing that he craved from them: their beauty.
Meanwhile, Rick and Pat are each fighting their own cravings. They are married, yet the more they work together, the more they are attracted to each other, and the more they want to take the irrevocable step, from friendly, flirting work colleagues, to lovers. But if they do, what will the effect be on their relationship, and their marriages?
There are many dark clouds on Rick and Pat’s horizon; a storm is coming. Solving the beautiful deaths will be the least of their problems. The storm has a name: PPP; the serial killer locked away by them in a mental hospital. He is plotting his escape and revenge.
Rick McCoy of the Major Crime Squad is trying to repair his marriage when he is sent to the South of Western Australia. A young girl’s body has been found in a cave, with flowers on her chest. A search finds five more bodies.
Beautiful criminal psychologist, Patricia Holmes, has recovered from her stab wounds inflicted by the serial killer PPP, and is brought in. Pat believes they are hunting a man who is addicted to beauty. When another school girl goes missing, they have only days before she too will die.
As their desire for each other grows and the pressure on their marriages increase, they close in on the man responsible for the beautiful deaths. Meanwhile, in the high-security wing of the mental health hospital, PPP plans his revenge on Rick.
Mystery [The Wild Rose Press, On Sale: April 10, 2019, e-Book, ISBN: 2940161451007 / ]
About Stephen B King
I’ve wanted to be a writer all my adult life, so I’m officially living my own dream now. I just wish I had more time to write more. I’m a fiercely patriotic Australian, even though I was born in the U.K. and came over at age 16; as the saying, and very famous poem goes, “I love a sunburnt country.” Funnily enough, my first publisher, who was British, wanted me to set my first book in London, rather than my home city of Perth, I refused, and they assured me it would result in fewer sales. Maybe that was petulance on my part, but what’s interesting is that my US publisher now loves that my books are set in Australia.
My first audio book, Thirty-Three Days has an amazing Australian actor, Geoffrey Boyes, perform the narration and he has a rich, caring, engaging voice that for me, epitomizes the relaxed Australian psyche I love so much.