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The Vital Chain

By Sally Spencer

Rob Conroy wakes up in a Bristol hospital to discover three close members of his family have perished in a car accident.

The BMW they were all riding in crashed en route to a crucial business meeting in Swansea.

His father Edward, Uncle Tony and brother John – all directors of companies in the Conroy Enterprises empire – are dead.

Rob, and his Uncle Tony’s executive assistant Bill Harper, are the only survivors of the fateful trip.

Struggling to make sense of events, Rob receives a further shock when a childhood friend Owen Flint, now a Chief Inspector in the police, appears at his bedside.

The detective delivers even more stunning news – the car had been booby-trapped.

Now the managing director of Cormorant Publishing, Rob soon discovers how the chain of command set up by his entrepreneurial grandfather has become a manacle which binds the entire family to his inescapable patriarchal will.

How can one family have so much in terms of wealth and power, yet be blighted by the destructive forces of ambition and greed? Are there jealous enemies within their very midst or envious eyes outside – or both? Why does Rob’s jealous cousin Philip harbour such a grudge against him?

What is the unutterable truth that John tried so hard to confide in his brother before the fatal accident? And why does John’s social-climber of a wife Lydia protect another prime suspect in the triple murder? Indeed, are there more booby-traps, and more murders, to come?

And what strange fate awaits Rob and his fledgling romance with enigmatic Irish private investigator Marie O’Hara who seems to be on a mission of her own?

Sally Spencer’s tale of internecine strife shows how the determination of one man to provide for and protect his family can have unintended consequences – and become instead an instrument of destruction.

Sally Spencer is a pseudonym adopted by English author Alan Rustage for some of his work, including four series comprising around 35 novels in all, with Inspector Sam Blackstone, Detective Chief Inspector Charlie Woodend and DCI Monika Paniatowski featuring by turns as the main protagonist. He also pens thriller novels under the second pseudonym James Garcia Woods as well as writing under his real name.

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