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Showing posts by: James Marrison click to see James Marrison's profile
Nov 6 2015 3:30pm

The Wasp Woman Murder: The Death of Susan Cabot

Many of the elements of my first novel The Drowning Ground are based around killers I have researched in the past. I used to be a regular contributor to Bizarre magazine in the UK. While working for Bizarre, I interviewed some of the most eminent psychologists, criminologist, and CSI investigators operating in their field today and wrote extensively about some of the world’s most notorious killers. It was after these experiences that I wrote The World’s Most Bizarre Murders. Perhaps the strangest of all the cases I have ever covered is the Wasp Woman Murder, elements of which also served as inspiration for the first Inspector Guillermo Downes thriller, specifically the death of a recluse who is found dead on the top of a remote hill in the Cotswolds.   

Among the many murderers and psychotics portrayed in the movies there is one type of deranged lunatic particularly close to Hollywood’s heart:  the actress-turned-recluse. Both Billy Wilder’s film noir Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Robert Aldrich’s gothic horror What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) were set in decaying Hollywood mansions and both tell the story of actresses driven mad by their sudden loss of fame. Both movies end in tragedy. So, when in 1986 a real Hollywood recluse was found bludgeoned to death in her dilapidated home, it made headlines all over America. Throw in a Latin American ninja and a dwarf on a strange experimental drug and the “Wasp Woman murder,” as it was known, became a Hollywood legend almost overnight.

[Have you heard of it?]

Aug 22 2015 11:00am

The Drowning Ground: New Excerpt

James Marrison

The Drowning Ground is the debut mystery by James Marrison set in a tranquil English town and focused on Detective Chief Inspector Guillermo Downes (available August 25, 2015).

For two decades after being forced to leave his native Argentina, Detective Chief Inspector Guillermo Downes has sought tranquility in the orderly life of the English Cotswolds. But violence can strike just as suddenly in the countryside as it can in Buenos Aires.

When the body of wealthy landowner Frank Hurst is found with a pitchfork through his neck, it brings back disturbing memories of former mysteries. Hurst's wife drowned in their swimming pool-an official accident, though many villagers have their doubts. And what about the two young girls who were abducted years before, with some possible links to Hurst that were never proven?

It's something truly terrible to make someone disap­pear,'' Downes tells his partner. Because the family never know, you see." Years ago he had promised the vanished girls' mothers to find their daughters, and as the ripples from Hurst's death spread through the village, there is fresh hope that he might finally make good on that promise, no matter what it costs the community or himself.


Carefully tucked out of view so that it did not ruin the garden’s neat symmetry, Frank Hurst’s swimming pool was positioned to one side of a raised patio. It was completely surrounded by a tall wooden fence. The sound of our footsteps echoed loudly around the pool’s edges as we stepped between a number of blood-stained towels, which were curled up along the granite. Two medics were standing above the body, and when they saw us they moved away so we could have a better look at her. The sun shimmered on the water. A bird called out shrilly and unexpectedly from the fields beyond. It was a hopeless sound somehow.

[Continue reading The Drowning Ground by James Marrison...]