Double Infidelity: A Short Murder Mystery

When a walk on a desolate, wind-swept Northumberland beach leads to a murder charge, Polly is thrust into a battle to establish her innocence.
However, the question remains, whom can she trust?


Polly turned and stumbled down the dune, across the high-tide line, and onto the hard wet sand where it was easier to run. She tightened the waist strap of her backpack as she ran towards the track which traversed the pasture. Thirty minutes, she guessed, then fifteen across the pasture to the safety of her car.

The three-mile stretch of beach was empty other than her and a dead man lying in the marram grass. She picked up her pace, a pulse beating high in her neck, eyes straining for the huge log that washed up long ago, and now marked the entrance to the track. It would be easy to miss on a day like this, easy to run too far to the south and then have to double back.

Two-thirds of the way, and Polly thought she saw the marker, but with the air full of wind-blown sand, she couldn’t be sure. She slowed to ease the burning in her leg muscles. This was the place she’d come to find peace. It had been one of her sanctuaries from an imploding marriage. She and Mike had been arguing more frequently, silences lasted days until she made overtures, looking for a way to move forward. It had come to a head six weeks ago when Polly had seen him with Judy Nettel, an old school friend. They didn’t notice Polly or anyone else because they were too occupied with each other. When Mike came home that evening, pretending he’d been to the gym, Polly confronted him. As usual, he accused her of imagining things, told her she was losing her grip. She showed him the picture she’d taken on her phone, but even then he tried to twist it. He said it had been a quick hello after accidentally bumping into her in the street. Polly called bullshit. Mike got angry, then skewed their history, making out it was Polly’s fault. That she wasn’t a good partner. That she didn’t recognise and fulfil his needs. That she didn’t like his friends, and preferred to hang out with losers and has-beens.

Bastard. Useless two-timing, gaslighting bastard.

She pushed the memories away and focused on the point in the dunes where she thought the entrance was.

At first, she thought it was a lump of driftwood in the distance, a dark shape almost formless amongst the wind-blown sand. But it wasn’t driftwood, not kelp washed up on the high-tide line, it was moving. A lump formed in her throat making it hard to swallow. Polly stood frozen in time, the crashing waves louder, the wind pulling harder at her hair and clothes. He was walking straight towards her in long confident strides. Not running, but purposeful; a man going somewhere, not just ambling along a beach. If she turned and ran towards Holy Island, she’d run into a dead end. The only escape would be to swim across the estuary. Swimming fully clothed in these conditions could only end one way; drowning. She had to behave normally, as if she was just out for a walk close to the waterline. Smile politely and continue towards the pasture, to her car, to safety.

He was about a hundred metres away now, still walking toward her. There was something familiar about the way he was walking, that self-confident stride. Polly tried not to keep looking at him. She glanced out to sea, shielding her eyes against the harsh wind as if relishing the beauty of the day, the wind-swept sea, and soaring gulls, the white-crested waves. One more glance at the approaching figure. It wasn’t just his gait that was familiar, the hair, that green Japara jacket.

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