Hi friends! Today is my stop on the blog tour for Beyond the Funeral by Peter Marshall and I am bringing you a guest post. Enjoy!
Beyond the Funeral by Peter Marshall
Published by: Self-published
Release date: 18/10/2020
Where to find: Amazon
Summary: “Beyond the Funeral” is a fast-moving spy thriller in which even the Russian secret service is fallible as they are outsmarted by the British and US agencies. A senior Russian diplomat goes on trial in the UK for conspiracy to poison a woman working for the Royal Navy in Portsmouth who had embarked on an on-line romance with a man who turned out to be a spy. He was “The Russian Lieutenant” in the author’s previous book which ended with the funeral of the woman – and now there are the inevitable reprisals by Moscow, including another poisoning attack in Portsmouth.
Along the way, readers will discover Samantha Lord, a new central character who gets her baptism of fire as a CIA operator with two risky assignments –in the first, she flees gunfire from a drug gang in Mexico and in the second she sets out to seek a group of Russian cyber-terrorists in Canada.
Meanwhile, the Russian spy who posed as a naval officer for his on-line “affair” with the British woman is returned to Moscow in a dramatic spy-swap and is reprimanded by the GRU hierarchy … but he then makes an unexpected reappearance at the end of the story.
A RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT IN THE DOCK
The action in “Beyond the Funeral” moves quickly, with unexpected twists and turns in the continuing story of Marina Peters, who worked for the Royal Navy in Portsmouth and was poisoned by Russian agents. She had fallen for a Russian naval officer on a computer-dating website and became embroiled in the ruthless world of international espionage. My previous novel ended dramatically at her naval funeral when a red rose was mysteriously cast into the sea with her ashes. It came from her “Russian Lieutenant”. But as the story develops after the funeral, the pace slows deliberately for what is my favourite section of the book when a Russian diplomat goes on trial in Winchester Crown Court on a charge of being an accomplice in Marina’s murder.
In writing these chapters, I draw on memories from my years as a journalist, which included fascinating days spent in court rooms covering cases ranging from fraud to murder – and much more in between. For a location, I decided to imagine how a fictitious Winchester Crown Court might look these days, and I recalled some of the prosecuting and defending lawyers I had watched with admiration in Winchester and elsewhere. Their legal skills and verbal dexterity were usually impressive to a young reporter – often producing phrases which would make good headlines, perhaps deliberately?
The witnesses in this two-day hearing include Marina’s father, an expatriate Russian businessman from London, and the Portsmouth police officers involved in the investigations. There is searching cross-examination of the accused Russian by the prosecuting lawyer and there are times when both lawyers even appear to be using the occasion as a performance to impress their client, the jury and even the press! But not the judge, who presides calmy with the occasional reminder to a lawyer who might stray into unacceptable territory.
This was a case based on the world of spies and the key witness from Britain’s MI5 was allowed to give his crucial evidence anonymously and hidden behind a screen. He was pleased to see the Russian diplomat sentenced to eight years in prison, in spite of pleas for diplomatic immunity. There are inevitably angry reactions in Moscow.
The result is a success for the ingenious MI5 spymaster who goes on to be the man behind various events as the story goes on to involve America’s famous Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA) as well as the skills of American medical research – and even Hollywood-trained make-up artists! The action that follows includes a CIA mission to penetrate a drug cartel in Mexico, and then an investigation into cybercrime in Canada.
There is another pause in the action (with personal memories of my own experiences in covering the Commander Crabb spying story) when a national newspaper reporter in London is sufficiently intrigued by events surrounding the death of Marina Peters, to embark on new enquiries to write his “What Really Happened?” feature. But he is frustrated by a wall of government secrecy, national security and the Official Secrets Act!
Meanwhile, the international events continue to involve the central characters in the story. What happens “Beyond the Funeral” eventually leads readers to Japan with a final twist to be explored further in the next novel of the series.
(“Beyond the Funeral” is available as a paperback or e-book from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com)
Peter Marshall was born in Wiltshire, educated at Trowbridge High School and began his professional life as a reporter with the Bath & Wilts Chronicle at the age of sixteen, a career which was interrupted by National Service when he joined the Royal Navy. Marshall gained an RNVR commission and served as a Sub-Lieutenant based in Portsmouth and Germany for two years, followed by seven years as a reserve officer.
He moved to Portsmouth and was Deputy Naval Correspondent for the Portsmouth Evening News before becoming a freelance reporter, representing most of the UK national press. He also worked for the BBC as a reporter on radio and TV before joining the BBC staff as a News Editor. He then moved to Visnews, a BBC subsidiary which provided TV news coverage for broadcasters around the world, where he became Executive Editor and then General Manager. During this period, he was elected as Chairman of the Royal Television Society in 1986.
At Visnews (which later became ReutersTV) Marshall played an instrumental and early role in developing the use of satellites for global news coverage, which led him to work in the United States for fourteen years, firstly with INTELSAT and then as President of Keystone Communications (now part of France Telecom’s Globecast network). While in the USA, he served as President of the SSPI (Space and Satellite Professionals International) and on his retirement, he was elected to the Society’s “Hall of Fame” in recognition of his pioneering role in the development of satellite services for international broadcasters.
In his retirement years, Peter Marshall has returned to his “roots” as a journalist, working as co-author and editor of numerous books related to the satellite and space industry with the acclaimed American space scientist and futurist Dr. Joseph Pelton. He went on to write two biographies and a travel book before turning to fiction and drawing on some of his past experiences for this, his first novel.
He now lives in Gillingham, Dorset, where he is currently busy working on a sequel to “The Russian Lieutenant” (as well as editing another biography!).