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Brian L Porter

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Purple Death
by Brian L Porter   

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Books by Brian L Porter
· Pestilence
· Legacy of The Ripper
· A Study in Red - The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper
· The Nemesis Cell
                >> View all



Publisher:  Moongypsy Press ISBN-10:  1449954154


Copyright:  Jan 27, 2010 ISBN-13:  9781449954154

Purple Death, A Novel

A serial poisoner is at large, his victims many, from different walks of life, apparently unconnected and worse still for the police spread across the miles in at least two cities. Nothing can prepare the investigators for what they find as they delve into the series of horrendous murders.

Tranquil suburban Richmond-on-Thames, home to such landmarks as Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens, becomes the setting for a series of shocking and particularly gruesome murders that lead Detective Inspector Sean Connor and his team into a labyrinthine investigation in which all roads lead towards a thirty-year-old unsolved murder. The victims, all apparently unconnected to each other, are being dipatched by the use of a singularly unique poison, previously more closely associated with the notorious medieval Borgia family. As the murders begin to multiply at an alarming rate, Connor finds clues hard to come by, and every lead takes him down yet another blind alley. The killer seems to be one step ahead of the police at every turn. Together, he and his assistant, Sergeant Lucy Clay, must piece together the shreds of evidence that will lead them to the mysterious Chocolate Woman and in turn to the brain behind the horrific murders that soon come to be known as "The Purple Death." Purple Death is soon to appear as a motion picture produced by Thunderball Films LLC of Los Angeles, See


The London Borough of Richmond-on-Thames sits sedately at the south-eastern fringes of the boundaries of Greater London. Hampton Court Palace, Kew Gardens and Twickenham, the home of English Rugby are all to be found within its borders, as is the National Physical Laboratory. There are over one hundred parks within its borders, and the River Thames flows sedately through twenty one miles of the borough which has royal connections that date back some nine hundred years.

It is into this tranquil and unlikely setting that a killer with terrifying motives begins a spree of murders that soon lead the police to a connection with a decades old case. Unfortunately for Detective Inspector Sean Connor and his assistant Sergeant Lucy Clay, all roads seem to lead to nowhere in this baffling investigation as they begin to realise that the man behind the murders is a master of the art of misdirection who appears to assume a new identity with almost every passing day. Witnesses are thin on the ground, clues non-existent, and every potential suspect soon turns out to be yet another victim of the invidious killer. Connor is faced with question after question as to the killer’s motives and yet the answers are never going to be easy to find.

Who is the unknown but deadly female accomplice of the murderer whom the police soon dub The Chocolate Woman? Who is directing her in the prosecution of these apparently pointless and motiveless crimes? Why does the driver die at the controls as an express train arrives at Birmingham station, and how does his murder on the opposite side of the country connect with the horrendous series of killings taking place in quiet, leafy Richmond-on-Thames? What, if anything connects the victims to a thirty two year old unsolved murder investigation?

Each and every time that Connor and his team feel they are about to discover a new lead, they find they have been led into yet another ‘blind alley’ by the merciless yet fiendishly clever mastermind behind the murders. Time is running out for those still on the killers ‘murder list’ and the detectives must work fast to prevent the serial killer from completing his gruesome task as they begin their investigation into the catalogue of murders that would soon come to be known collectively as ‘The Purple Death’.

Author’s note: Although the towns and cities named in this fiction and the borough of Richmond-on-Thames are genuine, any and all references to local place names, streets and individuals are purely the inventions of the author’s mind and bear no connection to any place or person in real life. Any similarity to real places or persons is thus a pure coincidence and is entirely unintentional.


The man pulled the grey cardboard box file from its place in the bottom of the well- worn metal filing cabinet that stood in the darkest corner of his office. The box file was heavy and bulged from the bulk of its contents. It bore no filename or label in the space that had been provided for the purpose. Placing it on his desk the man removed the pink ribbon that held it closed and slowly began to remove the contents. Old newspaper cuttings, yellow with age, were soon joined on his desk by photographs of a diverse collection of men and women, of streets that betrayed their history by the collection of motor cars of a previous generation, and notebooks with discoloured, crumpled pages and a single, leather bound album that contained yet more photographs, this time of a more personal nature.

He spent a good ten minutes perusing the contents of the file before slowly replacing each item in the reverse of the order in which he’d removed it. Finally he spent a few minutes looking at the photos in the personal album, tenderly fingering the face of the central character in each and every one of the pictures that the well preserved photograph album contained. A smile played across his lips and he appeared lost in thoughts of a happier time, but then he eventually added the album to the other items back in the box file which was soon replaced in its place in the filing cabinet. He pushed the protruding pop-out auto-lock on the cabinet. His secrets were safe until the next time he decided to delve into his own personal museum of what his life had been, and what it might have been.

Unlocking a drawer in his desk, he next took out a polished wooden box. Hand-made from the finest quality oak, it had a slightly old-fashioned look to it. He knew it had once belonged to an old sea-captain who’d sailed the world long ago on one of the old clipper ships, carrying tea and other treasures from one corner of the empire to another. He’d acquired it at an antiques auction, and had put it to good use.

Opening it with a key he kept on a chain around his neck he surveyed the contents with a look of satisfaction. Five small glass tubes, rather like test tubes from a chemical laboratory lay in a bed of green velvet within the box. Each was securely topped off with a closely fitting cork top, and sealed around the edges with strong corrosive resistant black tape. Only the sharpest of syringes would serve to pry the contents of those vials from within their glass homes. He touched each of the vials in turn, his gaze lingering upon the clear, innocent looking liquid that each one contained and then, with a smile of satisfaction on his face, he slowly closed the box, turned the key in the lock and returned the box to its allotted place in the drawer.

Picking up the telephone, the man prepared to make a call, checking the number on a pad on his desk. He smiled again as he began to dial. The game was about to begin!

Chapter 1

The First Taste

Looking out at the world through his office window Sam Gabriel had every reason to feel pleased with himself. As he took in the sights of the people enjoying the warmth of the sun in the park that lay directly below his office building he wondered if any of them could feel as happy as he did at that moment in his life. Just forty years old and already he’d been propelled upwards towards the higher reaches of the promotion ladder. It had been less than an hour since old Lawrence Betts had called Sam into his office and handed him the prize he’d been seeking for so long, a partnership! To be a partner in the firm of Betts, Cowan and Ford was something that Sam had dreamed of ever since he’d joined the city law firm just four years ago, but he’d never dreamed it would happen this soon. He’d made a name for himself with a smaller firm specialising in criminal matters and had been head-hunted by the larger, more prosperous firm for whom he now worked. He wanted so much to call Lynne, his wife of the last six years but he knew that she was en-route to Edinburgh to visit her mother and Lynne would never, ever dream of answering her phone while she was driving. She was too safety conscious for that.

It was as Sam was thinking of Lynne that he first noticed the slight burning sensation, accompanied by an unexplained tingling in his mouth. Putting it down to excitement Sam ignored the discomfort at first but, as he watched two children chasing a small Yorkshire terrier through the park below his window he became aware of another disturbing sensation, as his mouth began to feel numb, as though he’d received a large dose of novocaine, and the tingling sensation increased, as did the burning which now spread from his mouth and took a firm hold of his abdomen.

Sam staggered back against his desk as the burning increased and his motor functions suddenly failed him. He wanted to move his arms and legs but they didn’t want to obey his brain’s commands. What the hell was happening? Sam reached for the telephone which sat invitingly on his desk intending to call for Maggie, his secretary. He knew that he must have eaten something that had disagreed with his stomach. This could only be a virulent attack of food poisoning, surely. For some reason, as he reached across the desk the telephone seemed to keep moving away from his outstretched hand; no matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t make his hand connect with the inanimate but elusive plastic object that had become the absolute focus of his life in the last few seconds.

He couldn’t do it. The telephone wouldn’t allow him to pick it up, so he tried for the next best option. He’d walk across the floor to the door, open it and call Maggie into the office. He’d done it a thousand times before, why not now? The answer came in less than two seconds as Sam Gabriel tried to move his legs and instead fell in a crumpled heap on his office floor. He was feeling more than ill now and fear gripped Sam as the sweat on his brow began to run down into his eyes. He felt a constriction in his chest as though someone had suddenly placed an iron barrel ring around him and was tightening it by the second. The life was being crushed out of his body, but there was nothing and no-one there with him in the office. Sam Gabriel was alone.

Why didn’t anyone come to his aid? He couldn’t think of a reason why no-one came until he remembered that he’d told Maggie he wasn’t to be disturbed under any circumstances. Sam had wanted to enjoy his big moment, to savour it and then make a few phone calls to friends and family to share his news. Then he’d have gone for lunch, meeting as usual with his colleagues from inside and outside the firm at The Harrow Arms, the local watering hole for the legal and upmarket business set.

His pulse was slowing and his skin seemed to be on fire and the sensations of heat were rapidly spreading over his whole body. He could almost feel the throbbing of his own heartbeat in his temples and he knew that along with his pulse, his heart rate was getting slower by the minute.

“What the hell’s happening to me?” he managed to voice out loud, but they were the last words he managed before he felt his stomach lurch and heave, and Sam Gabriel began to vomit uncontrollably. He lurched violently as a spasm shook his body, he felt the cold hardness of his desk behind his back, and then Sam began to sob as he realised that no-one was about to come to his aid, and that whatever was happening to him could have potentially lethal consequences for him. This was no simple case of food poisoning, he concluded. Some bastard had deliberately poisoned him. But who, and with what? He tried desperately to think of something he might have ingested that could have caused this type of reaction and his poor tortured brain could think of nothing.

The pain in his gut was increasing exponentially and Sam managed to assume a foetal position, his arms gripping his belly tightly in an effort to dull the agony and control the retching that now wracked his weary body every few minutes. It was getting harder to breath. Little did he know at that stage, but Sam was slowly being starved of air, his lungs were beginning to fail due to asphyxiation. Lucid to the end, Sam Gabriel lived out the last minutes of his life on the floor of his office, knowing that he was dying, but being unable to summon help, unable even to call out to his secretary in the next office. Sam thought of Lynne and the child she was carrying, the son or daughter he’d never know, and then, as the pain in his abdomen reached a crescendo and his lungs felt as though they were being crushed in a vice, Sam closed his eyes for the last time, and the children in the park chased the little terrier and the lunchtime crowd gathered on the park benches to enjoy their sandwiches and pre-packaged drinks.

Knowing that he’d want to be on time to celebrate the good news of his promotion with the lunchtime crowd Maggie Lucas dared to knock and enter Sam Gabriel’s office less than ten minutes after he’d drawn his last agonizing breath. The screams that accompanied her discovery of the painfully contorted body of her boss brought the staff and the senior partners of the firm of Betts, Cowan and Ford running to the office of their newly promoted and recently deceased junior partner. Sam Gabriel had had less than two hours to enjoy his promotion.

Professional Reviews

Purple Death - Brian L. Porter, Author
Purple Death - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

'Sam tried to move his legs and instead fell in a crumpled heap on his office floor. He felt more than just 'ill' now. Fear gripped Sam while the sweat on his brow began to run down into his eyes. He felt a constriction in his chest, as if someone had suddenly placed an iron barrel ring around him and was tightening it by the second. The life was rapidly being crushed out of his body, but with nothing and no one there to offer help. Sam Gabriel had never felt so frightened and alone.'

Sam Gabriel will become just one of several to die a gruesome death by poisoning. The poison 'aconite' is being administered by what Detective Inspector Shawn Connor has decided is a serial killer. D.I. Connor, who heads up a team of investigators, is baffled as to how the poison is being induced. This question is finally answered after the third victim is killed. Now Connor must determine if there is a connection between the victims and follow what few clues he has to determine who will be next.

DI Connor has determined that a woman is involved but doesn't feel that she's alone. Due to the timing of the deaths and the locations of the victims, there has to be more than one person involved.

Connor and his team finally come up with a clue which seems to connect most of the victims. The clue pertains to events that happened over 30 years earlier with most of those involved being deceased. To Conner, it appears that with each clue that surfaces, another victim turns up poisoned. He seems to hit nothing but dead ends.

I've read all but 2 books written by Brian Porter and I have to say that if you've never read his writings, you're losing out. Purple Death has taken me on a road with many curves, most of them sharp. Porter grabs your attention in the beginning of the book with his Welcome message and your reading experience goes up from there. He has got to be one of the best mystery writers I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

Beware of What you Eat or Drink: Purple Death: Might Get You Too!
By Fran Lewis "Fran and Bertha"
Purple Death

By Brian L. Porter

When your body starts to tingle, your hands feel numb, your mouth can longer verbalize what you want to say and the pain is so excruciating that you can hardly breathe, you are now and forever a victim of PURPLE DEATH! A DEATH SO HORRIFIC THAT ONLY AUTHOR BRIAN PORTER CAN RELATE THE EXPERIENCES OF THE VICTIMS AND ALLOW THE READER TO EXPERIENCE THE DEATHS FIRST HAND.

First, you need to hear the facts and understand the events of each crime and learn the reasons why the police in two towns were more than frustrated and baffled as to why these murders were committed and how the poison, or Purple Death, was administered to each victim.

Purple Death is a poison that comes from a plant. The poison is called aconite and it paralyzes its victims without impairing their mind. How horrific that the person inflicted with his poison knows what is happening to them, feels unbearable pain and goes through a painful death without being able to ring for help or cry out in pain.

Detective Inspector Sean Connor his assistant Sergeant Lucy Clay, Dr. Catherine Nickels, and a team of investigators from Richmond-on-Thames and Birmingham, have to sort through many unanswered questions, clues that lead to suspects only to find themselves back at square one and a mysterious girl named the Chocolate Woman who seems to be at the center of these murders, but no one is really sure what part she played in carrying out these horrific murders.

As Detective Inspector Connor digs deeper into the past of each of the victims he comes face to face with an unsolved murder from thirty years before and maybe a connection to what is happening in the present. The latest victims appear to have no apparent connection to each other and yet this poison has poisoned each. With the body count rising, Connor teams up with the police force in Birmingham hoping to solve the murders faster using all of the combined resources.

Purple death is derived from a plant that will render your body useless but keep your mind and brain alert and aware of what is happening to you. Author Brian L. Porter describes the victim's journey from beginning to end in such a graphic manner that you can visualize the scene in your head and feel the agony and pain the victim is enduring each and every second until their lives are extinguished.

I am Purple Death you see
I come from a plant that will kill you not me
As I begin to work my way through your body you know
Your respiratory system will begin to slow
Your mouth and lips will tingle and your lungs will burn
Your body and mind will writhe with every turn
My reasons for choosing these victims I will not divulge to you
But, beware there are more and one might be you too.
Thirty years ago a tragic murder went unpunished and more
Those that were involved will reap the benefits of what I have in store


When the past comes to haunt those in the present only author Brian L. Porter can create a plot so devious so creative that it will keep you on edge from beginning until end.

William Prentice was a private investigator that uncovered information about one man who he suspected was cheating on his wife. His partner, Andrew Forbes told the police that it involved a case of adultery involving a woman in Braintree County. With each passing day the woman involved and the man whether rightly or wrongly accused of cheating on his wife, things got worse and Prentice was killed. His murderer caught and released and a second the same.

But, according to one man justice was not served the woman whose husband was killed became so deranged and upset that she sought the comfort of our killer in order to make things right. The killer, created a brand of justice so heinous and so horrific and enlisted the help of a woman we shall call the Chocolate Woman, to distribute his lethal dose of aconite, the poison called Purple Death, to the unsuspecting victim in a piece of chocolate or in other cases in a familiar drink.

Who is behind these gruesome murders and why you will not believe? Why is it that every time Connor and his team draw three steps closer and gain the name of a possible suspect the body count rises? Why is it that the killer always knows what is happening and never fails to get there first? Only the killer, the author and of course this reader knows and we will never divulge that information.

With a team of detectives, investigators, his assistant and several medical examiners are pressed for time and hope to close in on this deranged killer. When the one person that can help them is placed in a safe house and hopefully can help put this case to rest, will the killer know where to find the person and will Connor, Clay and his team get there in time?

Who will win the battle? The KILLER OR PURPLE DEATH! What does keep you on the edge of your seat until you turn the last page and read the last word? Let's hope our author brings back this team of detectives for another murder.

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