Review: Who Killed Clarissa?

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Sometimes appearances can be deceiving and a person’s real mission in life and goals hidden by a false persona. Clarissa Briggs was found brutally murdered and no one can figure out why. Considered a saint in her own right, the head of a school that takes care of orphaned young boys, no one could understand why anyone would want to kill her.

The community is outraged, the police immediately called to solve the murder and the investigation about to begin. But, one detective who would delve into her past; her life and her affiliations and the sainthood that she was granted might soon revoke what others have bestowed upon her as he investigates her death. Detective Inspector Turner, approaching the end of his career has been assigned this notable case. A murder in the small town of Nanford will take him on the journey leading to more than just who killed her and why. The local Watch Committee has enlisted the aid of the county police to investigate the murder.

But, his team is inexperienced and hardly capable of solving a murder, so they think! Harry Lord found Clarissa’s body. As Sam Turner begins to investigate he learns more about Harry Lord’s link to Clarissa, the lack of emotion of the older boys in the Home and the fact that everyone thought she was so perfect and saintly. Think about the fact that her husband left her for another woman. The author takes the reader on a journey back in time to get the know Clarissa or the matron of the school. Rupert Tatham, her father was the Master whose stern and austere personality and demeanor leave no room for levity, joy and frivolity when dealing with the young boys in his charge.

Tatham would not hesitate using physical force in order to teach any one of the young men a lesson. His facial expressions and outward stare was enough to get them to listen. Added to that his sister Clarissa was no different and after his death took over as the head of the school even though her husband Jack was named Master. The story then continues with Jack’s role as Master and his relationship with the boys, especially one named Anton Macauley, a quiet young man known to be violent when provoked.

Coming from an abusive foster home and having trouble with other students past schools, the Master makes it quite clear as to what will happen if he disobeys the rules. After the Master’s death Clarissa takes control of the school and things begin to change. Her father a cold and unfeeling man who Jack stated no one should emulate. Alice Darcy was the housekeeper in charge of keeping the dorms straight. Alice had a crush on Jack Briggs. Jack Briggs chose to sleep in his office on many occasions to avoid Clarissa.

Alice Darcy offered him a room in her apartment.  When the police came to question Jack about Clarissa’s murder you learn the true circumstances behind his leaving her, his reasons for having an affair with Alice Darcy and what he endured living in her shadow. Clarissa did not make a move without her father’s approval nor would she allow Jack to make any real changes in the Home and how it was run after his death. Rupert Tatham was as cold and unfeeling as his daughter. Two made from the same identical mold. Clarissa was austere, one dimensional and distant when dealing with Jack, her marriage and the boys in the school. Each thing had to be done in a certain way and perfection according her father’s standards the rule.

Outside of the Home she appeared warm, kind, caring and compassionate to others. It was like having the many faces of Eve or living   Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde. Questioning him further they learned that he lived with Alice Darcy, tried to divorce Clarissa but she would not allow that to happen whether for revenge because of his infidelity or for appearance sake. So, Jack Briggs is one of the suspects in her murder. Therefore, her death would greatly benefit him and his mistress and their children. Now, they could become a real family. So, is he guilty? Appearances are deceiving and those that appear above reproach just might not be. Those that appear to have exemplary characters might fool you. Creating an image for the public is something that is often orchestrated or contrived. Rupert created the image of himself that he wanted everyone to see.

Clarissa’s life was programmed, blueprinted and carbon copied to make sure that it fit exactly into he what wanted and created for her. Living under her father’s rule and favor was what made her thrive. Rupert Tatham was a pedophile, plain and simple. The details of his sorted behaviors are graphically and creatively detailed and outlined by the author as he relates the story of one young man named Anton and his friendship with another named Tommy. Bringing to light how their friendship formed, their problems and what caused Tommy to take his life.  Tommy hoped to become a chef and with the help of the people at the hotel where he worked his dream was coming true. Delighting the Master and the staff with his culinary and pastry delights, Tommy soon became the object of more than his affection. Anton relates his experience with his foster father and the end result being placed in the Home.

Harold Taylor reports the Master for his indiscretions but the case goes cold when the Master dies. Three students each fearful of being exposed each keeping a secret that will no longer remain buried. But, Tommy’s apparent suicide will do more than bring the situation to light and the body of the Master will be exhumed to find out the real cause of his death, which might not have been accurately reported by the doctor in charge. Flashing forward to the present or 1937, the author takes the reader right into the investigation along with Turner and Francis. One tired Inspector now has the case of a lifetime and begins to put things together in an outstanding way. Aware of details, facts and noticing the slightest change in a person’s demeanor or the scenery or place being visited, Inspector Turner along with his staff begins to retrace the lives of both Clarissa and Rupert to get to the heart of who might have killed them both.

As you look at Clarissa’s face on the front and back covers of this book you can see the coldness in her eyes, the lack of luster, expressionless and feel a strong chill go down your spine wondering what is behind those cold eyes. Superintendent Hardacre handled her father’s case when accused of molesting Harold. When, Rupert died so did the case. As Sergeant Kelly reveals these facts and more to Turner he investigates the matter in more depth and what he learns will change the complexion of the investigation. Added to that he delves more into the background of Harry Lord when he questions him about his wife’s leaving and her relationship with Clarissa. Next, he visits the bank to uncover the real link between Lord and the late Clarissa and why she was depositing money his money in her account every month. The truth behind this will really give you much pause for thought and realize that dear Clarissa was anything but a Saint. The results of Rupert’s death finally revealed as arsenic poisoning, Alice Darcy questioned as well as Dr. Jarvis and DI Inspector Turner troubled not only by his reaction to Darcy and her demeanor and her ability to recall details as well as himself, but the doctor’s remarks made when he alerts him to the real cause of death.

Delving further Dr. Jarvis reveals some disturbing and startling information regarding Rupert and Harry Lord. One man arrested, suspects piling up and several leads that still need to be pursued, Sam Turner is really enveloped in this murder investigation as the Constable learns more and as their just might get it done.  A stickler for details with a keen ability to observe the most minuscule detail, Turner and Francis learn that many of the upper crust in Nanford have a lot to hide and that attention need to focus on not just Lord, Briggs and those at the home. An ending filled with twists, turns, revelations and more, one woman whose secrets will finally come to light. Author Tom Kilcourse has created characters that are credible, believable and keep the reader focused throughout the novel. An ending you will not see coming and one Inspector that finds out the truth behind Clarissa’s new found wealth, her father’s death, her true character and the fact that what you saw was definitely the real Clarissa. Take the skin off of an apple and gnaw through the apple itself. You are left with the hard core at the end, which has no substance.

You are left with a bitter taste in your mouth if you try to eat the core. Clarissa: Who Killed Her? Read the book and you will find out for yourself. Why was she killed only Inspector Turner and Constable Francis can reveal that information? Let’s hope that you he brings these two back to solve another murder. Who Killed Clarissa by author Tom Kilcourse will keep the reader glued to the printed page from the start of the novel until you turn the last page. There are so many colorful and interesting characters created by this talented author. Jack Briggs, the husband of the murdered Clarissa is someone you come to admire for his tenacity and the way he handles her and yet feels sorry for in the fact that he is stuck with her. The author lets the reader inside Jack’s thoughts and that of the other characters. The descriptions of the places and the inner thoughts of how Detective Inspector Sam Turner and Constable Francis go about trying to solve the murder is quite interesting and compelling.

The cover is great. Look into her eyes. You can feel the coldness and the lack of emotion. She is haunting and expressionless. This book has so many great characters but the two detectives learn how to work together, beat the odds played against them by the higher ups that they would not solve the case and become a noteworthy team and definite adversary for the guilty. Read Who Killed Clarissa by author Tom Kilcourse and find out just why she was killed, what part her manipulative father Rupert played and why so many wanted her dead. Can’t wait to read the next book in his series.

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