FAMILY BUSINESS


SYNOPSIS: 1966. London is plagued by gangs led by the Kray twins and Charlie Richardson. The Morrisons are a smaller version operating in Kent. They persuade Daniel Longcroft, the senior partner in a legal practice, to help them in a swindle exploiting the housing boom.. He starts cheating the gang but is betrayed by his spend-thrift wife, Cecile, to her lover, Maxwell Morrison. Both Daniel and Cecile are kidnapped, tortured and Daniel disappears PERMANENTLY. John Fairbrother, a junior partner, is seriously injured when he rejects advances from the Morrison gang. However, he’s the brother-in-law of Jonas Forbes, Enquiry Agent, who decides to strike back at the gang. He kills Archie Morrison and goes into hiding near Petworth in Sussex. There he’s helped by his cousin, David Simmonds, and rapidly blends in with the local population – to the irritation of some. The police are over-stretched but still determined to arrest Jonas for murder. Jonas is betrayed by a jealous local to the gang who arrive to hunt him down. But the tale isn’t over yet. How does Jonas, isolated and outnumbered, escape death? Why do the gang release a mentally-fragile Cecile back into the public arena? How does intervention by Hilda Frost, Daniel’s secretary, help to bring about the final destruction of the gang?
EXTRACT: 'Jonas pirouetted, using his right foot as an anchor, just in time to be knocked backwards by a left knee. He cannoned against the desk and was pleased his low position meant that a follow-up punch lost most of its force against his left ear. He catapulted himself away from danger and then rolled several twists into the general gloom of the office. He rose to his feet but had to throw himself sideways to dodge an attack launched by his attacker. Now he could see his attacker well enough to recognise Archie Morrison who, with scarcely a grimace, pulled the knife out of his left thigh, not noticing how much the wound continued to bleed. “’and over wot’s ours, laddie!” He stretched out his hand with every confidence that his opponent, even though eluding the initial attack, would be so terrified he’d comply. He’d never met Jonas Forbes.

“I understood this packet belonged to Daniel Longcroft.”

“The man won’t be needin’ it NOW.” That last word was accompanied by such a nasty grimace, meant as a grin, that Jonas was certain the solicitor ‘had departed this life’.

“Then it must be the property of his wife.” Both had moved to obtain the advantage and Jonas, more experienced in the game, had ensured the torchlight played on the Scotsman.

“She’ll be ‘andin’ it over to ma dad.” Again that sense of certainty which comes from trusting ignorance – or is it ‘ignorant trust’?

“P’rhaps she’ll hand it over to the police.'”

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