Although my next novel to be published will be ‘Lucky Portbraddon’ which I’m editing furiously right now, I am also writing creatively, working on another Radwinter novel, another genealogical mystery.

In this new Radwinter story, the main character has been asked, commissioned to investigate a variety of different things… did an elderly man’s mother murder three of her school friends? Is a friend’s newly acquired hotel haunted? And who is the young woman who was found on a local beach a year ago, washed up like a piece of driftwood and suffering from amnesia?

In this excerpt, Thomas is pondering on the young woman, found by his friend Carole, and who has been named ‘Shelly’:

So… how did Shelly get to the beach? Was she washed up from the sea, like some mermaid or selkie… actually, no I don’t think she was. I don’t think she drifted ashore like a piece of flotsam or jetsam… I really must find out what the difference is! She may have been in the sea, she may have been swimming in the sea… fully clothed? Well, apparently people do – I had such a quiet and sheltered student life, living at home with my  brother Marcus and his wife and daughters, but friends told me about skinny-dipping, midnight swims, cavorting on the sands, drunken antics…

If my darling Kylie wasn’t so afraid of water we could park the kids with someone and go down and have some naked frolics in a quiet cove somewhere… I had a little chuckle, and she looked up… I shook my head and went back to my scribbling…

So if Shelly was cavorting in the sea, was she cavorting with other people? Well, I didn’t think so because someone would have come forward to identify her – or at least say they saw her.

So if neither of these things happened – and if she wasn’t washed overboard from a ship, dumped from a ship, been involved in a ship wreck, and nor had she been swimming somewhere and got carried out to sea…

I had a little shiver at that and got up to make  a cup of tea, then changed my mind and had another glass of wine…

Last year, before the twins were born, I got involved with trying to find someone, rescue someone… and I ended up in the sea… two men were swept away and a woman died… and I sometimes have dreams, not exactly nightmares, but disturbing dreams about leaving a young woman dead on a beach…

Shelly was unhurt… when she was taken to hospital, she hadn’t even got hypothermia even though she was cold… there was nothing wrong with her, except she had no memory of how she got there…

One report I read said something along the lines of ‘not a classic case of amnesia’… hmmm

So back to her lying on the beach. I’d asked Carole a lot about that… Shelly had been just lying there, shivering… can you shiver when you’re unconscious or in a faint? I think she must have fainted because there were no injuries or bumps or bruises to her head… so she was lying on the beach in a faint… well, how long do faints last? Not that long I don’t think unless there is some injury, and there wasn’t one with Shelly… and she wasn’t asleep… you can’t fall asleep when you’re cold and wet and it’s daylight… can you?

I tell you what, I’m beginning to think she wasn’t in the sea at all… I’m beginning to think she came to the beach, maybe in distress, or upset about something, or in shock, and she went down to the sea, and maybe got wet in the waves and then just lay down until someone found her, until Carole found her, Carole who walks along the beach every day at the same time… Carole with a dog which would go run run run, scamper investigate sniff and not ignore something like someone lying on the sand…

Were there any footprints around? Shelly’s or someone else’s? Maybe someone else brought her here and dumped her…

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