Simon Parke  
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      a director's cut   a psychiatrist screams   a vicar crucified  

Simon Parke with his latest book, The Indecent Death of a Madam

She is lying tied to an old metal bed in the crumbling shell of the former Bybuckle Asylum on Stormhaven’s wind-swept seafront. She will not survive the night. The executioner will return.

Once again, DI Tamsin Shah and Abbot Peter join forces to find a murderer who appears linked both to the secretive Stormhaven Etiquette Society and Model Services, the town’s only brothel, discreet but busy in Church Street.

But why the old asylum as the place of her death?

It is a case in which the abbot will find his past disturbed quite as much as his present.

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Photo of a monk on the seashore

Abbot Peter is a fictional character in the Abbot Peter Mysteries created by author Simon Parke. The Abbot works with DI Tamsin Shah to solve crime, usually murder, on the south coast of England, in the seaside town of Stormhaven – clearly based on the real town of Seaford. The series is set in the 1990’s.

The Abbot is in his sixties, a keen runner – he completed the Saharan marathon on six occasions – and formerly the Abbot of St-James-the-Less monastery in the deserts of Middle Egypt, a day’s camel ride from the famous St Catherine’s monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai. He was Abbot there for twenty years, and a brother there for ten years previously.

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Portrait photo of Simon Parke

Q: Simon, you’ve written books about psychology and spirituality, serious books.

S: But not humourless, I hope.

Q: Fair point. And you’ve done a bit of comedy in Shelf Life.

S: And perhaps combined them all – psychology, spirituality and comedy in Pippa’s Progress.

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Cover of A (Very) Public School Murder

Excellence by the Sea is the strap line in Stormhaven Towers’ publicity. But when, at the end of the summer term, the hard-drinking, hard-smoking new Headmaster, Jamie King, is found dead at the bottom of the town’s famous white cliffs, this excellence comes under savage scrutiny.

Suicide is assumed at first; King wouldn’t be the first tormented soul to hit those unforgiving rocks. But unanswered questions remain. Forensics find no phone by the body and the head always had his mobile with him: ‘I wouldn’t want to be out when Eton ring!’ he used to joke.

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A Directors Cut book cover

Set in the seaside town of Stormhaven on England’s south coast, the third Abbot Peter mystery, ‘A Director’s, Cut’ opens the curtain on a dark tale of murder and revenge in theatre land.

Abbot Peter has taken his niece Tamsin Shah for a night out at the town’s famous Bell Theatre, to see the controversial play, ‘Mother’s Day.’ With a history of successful productions, it is a jewel in Stormhaven’s battered crown – a successful theatre in an unlikely setting, led by the dynamic Hermione Bysshe-Urquhart, MBE.

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A Psychiatrist Screams house

‘Although seven clowns started the evening alive, only six still breathed by the evening’s end. And while everyone saw the murderer and knew the murderer, no one knew their name. The Lord of Misrule had seen to that. They’d seen to everything at the Feast of Fools.’

The second Abbot Peter mystery opens with the Halloween murder of a therapist at the Mind Gains clinic, a new adventure in mental health in the seaside town of Stormhaven.

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A Vicar Crucified book cover

Abbot Peter has recently swapped leadership of a remote monastery in the Sinai desert for retirement in the bleak and stormy seaside town of Stormhaven. When the local vicar is discovered crucified naked, in the vestry, the Abbot is invited to act as a Special Investigator.

Discovering a surprising connection along the way, he partners the attractive and ambitious Detective Inspector Tamsin Shah in pursuit of the killer. He believes a mysterious ancient symbol can help them in their quest; she is far from convinced.

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‘Parke evokes the creepiness of the setting marvellously. He has a stunning ear for the way people actually speak, with pages of uninterrupted dialogue flashing by with the speed of a radio play.’

Fiona Hood, Church Times

‘I have never read a more gripping and unusual murder mystery than this. In an Agatha Christie-style English seaside village, the black vicar, Anton Fontaine, is discovered crucified in his own vestry.’