Violette is a quiet, creative girl obsessed with death and the idea of preserving beauty; and secretly the mastermind behind a series of murders which has baffled the local police force. Sam, her only friend, wants no more than to make her happy, though to do this he has become her accomplice. Violette and Sam is a psychological thriller following the lives of these two serial killers. A story of characters and of people affected by, and involved in, murder. Each part of the story focuses on one character, among them the killers themselves, the reaper and the dead.
Lucy was a detective assigned to the Lace Killer, a small town serial killer. It was a difficult case, spanning several years. All the victims were local women, but very little else tied them together in life. They all had different jobs, different hair, skin, height, weight and age. They were killed in a variety of ways: some drowned, or strangled; others killed by blunt force trauma. But all of the girls were found in lace dresses.
Yes it was a difficult case, but Lucy was under no illusions as to why she had been assigned it. It was a case with many feminine elements and there was an assumption that she, as a woman, would know where the dresses came from. The profile drawn up by the psychologists specified an obsessive male killer and a female assistant, probably a family member; sister, mother, daughter or wife. The implication in giving Lucy the case was that she would find that female assistant and it would lead to the killer.
As a detective, Lucy was very good at her job. She had enjoyed puzzles from a very young age. She was an only child with parents who worked a lot. On weekends she was left at home watching daytime TV and reading the books on her parents’ bookshelves. This meant that she was introduced to murder mysteries as a child. She liked to know who the murderer was before the detective in the story knew. Sometimes, as she got older, she recognised that she had only predicted the murderer because the writing was bad, but often she predicted it because she was actually a good detective.
She grew up cold and distant but into a detective who was very good at her job. But as good as she was, when it came to lace dresses, she was starting from scratch. It had gradually become apparent that they were custom made, by hand, for the victims. After an extensive search, it was concluded that the dresses were not made by any dressmaker in the area; they had to have been made by the assistant herself.
Lucy was far more interested in the killer himself. She was desperate to find a pattern other than female, something other than the dresses. But the last girl had been blonde, strangled and the body was never found. Only the Polaroid. The girl before had been second generation English from a Jamaican family and her body was found in a field; she had been poisoned. Despite these differences, Lucy still felt sure that she was on the cusp of the pattern she craved.
The lack of a body for the most recent victim appeared to show an increase in care to cover his tracks, although it was too early to tell. Perhaps it was an increase in imagination and playfulness. Or perhaps it was just another way that the murders didn’t fit together. It was frustrating, but incredibly, Lucy was beginning to feel that she was getting somewhere. She was determined to ensure that there were no more victims. She was determined to show just how good at her job she was.
She was reading one night before bed when an idea came to her. She had recognised several of the methods of killing and disposing of bodies, she just hadn’t realised it until then. It took a little research before she was sure; while there wasn’t a pattern that she could discern in the girls themselves, the deaths all came from books. They were all different books, from different authors, but there was a pattern. And she, Lucy, had found it.
While dresses hadn’t been an ideal starting point for her investigation, books could be used to learn something useful. She and her team began to search for a local bookshop that could match the list of books for the murders. There were only two bookshops in town and only another three in the nearest other towns. There was also the town library, but that only stocked half of the books on the list. In addition to that, there wasn’t a single member of the library who had taken out all of the books listed.
One of the two bookshops in town was a tiny independent shop at the very edge of town. The owner was an organised man who made sure that each book bought was meticulously listed along with its price. Lucy and her team spent days looking through the lists of books sold for years back and found that each of the books were on the list, in the same order that the murder methods within them had been committed.
When questioned, the shop owner and staff informed Lucy that they could remember who had bought at least most of them. He was a tall young man with sandy hair. Very slim, he had a perpetually serious face and grey-blue eyes.
And so Lucy had a face. She was ready to put a name to it and end the list of dead girls.
Look out for Part 6 of Bryony Anne’s story.