When cartoonist Charlie Ellis is stabbed to death in his studio, everybody suspects a political motive. For his controversial cartoons had placed Charlie Ellis in the crosshairs two years before.
But Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd is sceptical. For why did Charlie Ellis not even try to defend himself and why did he open to door to his own killer? How did the killer manage to sneak past the police guard at the door in the first place? And what is the connection between Charlie Ellis and the other fourteen men in the Greater London area who happen to share his rather common name?
With the help of Simon Westmoreland, a handsome chief inspector from the Counter Terrorism Command, Helen finally manages to shed some light on the murder of Charlie Ellis.
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Some background information:
- Mightier than the Sword is a novelette of 12200 words or approximately 42 print pages. This story is a digital premiere and has never been published previously.
- Mightier than the Sword also marks the ninth appearance of Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd, her assistant Detective Constable Kevin Walker and forensic medical examiner Dr. Rajiv. Police Constable Martin Jackson and Charlotte Wong, scene of the crime officer and DC Walker’s girlfriend, reappear as well. What is more, this novelette introduces Detective Chief Inspector Simon Westmoreland of the Counter Terrorism Command, i.e. the unit formerly known as Special Branch.
- Mightier than the Sword was inspired by the various controversies surrounding cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed. In particular, it was inspired by reading somewhere that one of the cartoonists responsible for the Danish Mohammed cartoons has an extremely common name and that as a result all people in Denmark sharing that common name had to be placed under police protection. When I read that, I wondered how all those people who just happened to share the cartoonist’s name felt about that and the story was born.
- Charlie Ellis, the controversial cartoonist and murder victim from Mightier than the Sword, is named after the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and British comic writer Warren Ellis.
- Maggie Whitman, advertising copywriter and neighbour of Charlie Ellis, is basically a middle-aged British version of Peggy Olsen from Mad Men, one of whose clients was Heinz Baked Beans.
- There are two Muslim characters in Mightier than the Sword, both of whom work for the Metropolitan Police. Neither of them is the killer.
- The cover image is a stock photo by Serbian photographer Ivan Prole.