Excerpt From “Murder At The Rocks” by Jill Paterson

When Laurence Harford, a prominent businessman and philanthropist is found murdered in the historic Rocks area of Sydney, Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn is asked to solve the crime quickly and discreetly. After barely starting his investigation, uncovering a discarded mistress and disgruntled employees, a second killing occurs.

Meanwhile, Laurence’s nephew, Nicholas Harford, has his certainties in life shaken when he becomes a suspect in his uncle’s death, and receives a mysterious gold locket that starts a chain of events unravelling his family’s dark truths.

Murder At The Rocks is the second book in the Fitzjohn Mystery Series.


Laurence Harford emerged from the building into the cold night air and lit the cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth. Drawing on it, he discarded the match and exhaled, watching the smoke blend with the shadows in the dimly lit laneway. He started walking toward the stone archway and the street beyond, but froze when a figure stepped out in front of him. As their eyes met, Laurence’s heart pumped, a sense of recognition registering in his brain. Beads of sweat broke out across his brow and his cigarette fell to the wet flagstones, its life snuffed out. Laurence lurched out into the deserted street, the sound of uneven footsteps behind him.

Mapsom opened the door when Laurence arrived home. His demeanour displayed all the attributes of an accomplished butler. ‘Good evening, sir.’

Laurence handed Mapsom his coat and, without a word, crossed the hall to his study, slamming the door behind him. He did not feel the chill of the room as he took the top off the decanter and poured whisky into a glass, nor did he hear the door open behind him when he took a gulp. He only felt the dampness of the laneway in his mind and saw the face that haunted him.

‘You’re late.’ Laurence flew around at the words.

‘For what?’ he bellowed.

‘It’s Monday. Remember? We’re due at the charity dinner at eight.’

Laurence glared at his wife, her tall, slim figure accentuated by the electric blue gown she wore. ‘You’ll have to go alone, Julia. I have a matter to deal with this evening.’

‘You can’t just not go. You’re expected.’

Laurence, his face contorted with rage, banged his glass down, its contents flying across the desk. ‘I don’t give a damn if I’m expected. I’ve got more important things to attend to.’

Julia tensed before a smirk crossed her face. ‘Ah yes, of course. Charlotte Holmes, no doubt.’ Laurence glowered at her. ‘Don’t look so shocked, Laurence. I’m not a complete fool, whatever you might think of me. I know all about you and that poor misguided creature. To tell you the truth, I’m surprised she’s lasted this long. Your women usually realise much sooner what a contemptible bastard you really are.’

‘Get out.’

Julia smiled. ‘With pleasure. Oh, but before I go, your late brother’s solicitor phoned earlier. Andrew Pemlett, I think his name is. He said Nicholas arrives back from South America tomorrow.’ Julia watched the colour drain from Laurence’s face. ‘I thought you’d be pleased to hear that bit of news.’ She opened the door to leave as Laurence’s glass flew across the room and smashed against the wall.


Jill Paterson was born in Yorkshire and grew up in Adelaide, South Australia before spending 11 years in Ontario, Canada. After returning to Australia, she settled in Canberra.

After doing an arts degree at the Australian National University, she worked at the Australian National University’s School of Law before spending the next 10 years with the Business Council of Australia and the University of NSW, ADFA Campus, in the School of Electrical Engineering.

Jill has two published books. The Celtic Dagger and Murder At The Rocks.

My Blog: http://www.theperfectplot.blogspot.com


2 Responses to “Excerpt From “Murder At The Rocks” by Jill Paterson”

  1. Rod Marsden Says:

    Nice setting and great opening. I love the Rocks. It’s one of my favorite places in Sydney.

  2. Sheila Deeth Says:

    Great dialog–I can hear it in my head as I read.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: