Today I’m pleased to help launch the blog tour for Old Cases New Colours by Madalyn Morgan, with an extract from Chapter One, courtesy of the author and Rachel’s Random Resources.
Intro: After the war in 1945, Ena worked for The Home Office as head of the cold case department. After exposing the mole at MI5 and learning that the man she had worked with for thirteen years – and had respected for as long – was the head of the spy cell, Ena left her job. She was a good investigator but didn’t want to work for the government or the intelligence services, so she started a private investigation agency.
Ena wondered about the nature of work she’d be asked to do as a private investigator. Butterflies stirred in her stomach and she took deep breaths. She was excited to be starting a detective agency and hoped the work would be exciting too. When she first began investigating cold cases for the Home Office the work had fascinated her. She often worked long hours and sometimes didn’t get home until late. Henry worked for MI5 at the time and his hours were equally long, the pair of them often too exhausted at the end of the day to do anything but eat and fall into bed.
Frieda Voight, the spy Ena had worked with during the war – and who had come into her life again the year before – was the last cold case she had worked on. Frieda had killed herself which led to the personal assistant to Henry’s boss at MI5, Helen Crowther, committing suicide and framing Henry for murder. Ena had been instrumental in the capture of Crowther’s sidekick, a sociopath named Shaun O’Shaughnessy, as well as the ousting of a top German agent – Ena’s boss at the Home Office, Director Richard Bentley. Bentley had recruited several German agents and promoted them to powerful political and military positions during the thirty years he’d been at the Home Office. What would have been a huge scandal had been hushed up. Bentley was tried for treason, found guilty and hung, the others had German passports and were in prison. Ena had been called in as a witness for the prosecution at Dick Bentley’s trial. Although the trial had taken place behind closed doors, someone had leaked it to the newspapers and it made the front pages of them all. Ena had neither read the newspapers nor cared about Bentley’s fate. It was too personal; too personal and too painful. For almost a year she had kept her head down, spent time with her family in the Midlands and then stayed at home. She needed to spend time with her husband – and she’d enjoyed it, but being a housewife was never going to be enough for Ena.
Henry had left MI5 almost a year ago and now worked for GCHQ. As always, he often worked late and started early, so with the new decade of the 1960s, Ena decided it was time she returned to work. She was unaware of exactly what she wanted to do, but when she saw the “For Sale” sign on the wall of her old offices in Mercer Street, she knew where she wanted to work. It took her from New Year until March to gather the money together to buy the premises, late June to knock it into shape and refurbish it and a further month to decorate it. The latter she did herself because she’d almost run out of money. Now, in the summer of the new decade, she was beginning a new career.
The role of spy catcher, unearthing spies hiding in the shadows of respectability and exposing people who held senior positions in the country’s security services, was too much responsibility for one person. The job made her feel grubby. She’d had enough of dishonest and corrupt people. Working on cold cases for The Home Office, she had no choice but to work on cases that landed on her desk. She had a dilemma. She was good at what she did, so, why not work for herself in a private capacity? However hard it might be until she got to grips with the business and establish a good reputation, it would be better than working for Spooks. As her own boss she could turn down cases if she thought they were morally or ethically opposed to her conscience, were illegal, or if the client was disreputable.
Ena took a long deep breath and smiled. She was determined to make a success of the investigation agency, and rather than reminiscing over the past, she would look forward to the future and everything a new venture was bound to bring.
Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to turn down.
While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.