Spiking the Girl
In the third Gemma Lincoln novel, Gemma is involved investigating the disappearance of two girls from exclusive private school, Netherleigh Park Ladies’ College.
The girls ran a webcam site where they rated the males who left messages on their message board.
Principal Beatrice de Berigny appears to be protecting one of the male teachers and when the missing girls are linked to a hardcore pornography site, Gemma suspects the principal knows a great deal more than she is letting on. At the same time, Gemma is working for a woman who alleges that her estranged husband is breaking into her house at night, and even getting into bed with her. Gemma’s investigations reveal that the woman’s husband has been dead for a long time, so what’s really going on?
Detective Sergeant Angie McDonald, Gemma’s best friend, is crazy in love with country colleague, Trevor, and this is blinding her to several important issues about the man of her dreams. When the missing girls turn up dead, and a third girl vanishes from Netherleigh Park College, Gemma, wearing a micro camcorder, goes undercover as a sex worker right into the lair of the extremely dangerous prime suspect in order to collect vital and intimate evidence.
Can Gemma and Angie save the life of the third missing girl? Gemma discover that she too, has been ‘spiked’ in a surprising way....
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Angie, still distressed from discovering Trevor’s treachery, climbed into the front seat, a sheaf of printed out e-mails in her hand. “Listen to this,” she said. “These are from the message board on the girl’s website. Tracey Lee sent them across.” She started reading. “Hey Aymee and Tasmee, I really like your webpage. You are funny and cute. I love the way you put down all those jerks who email you and how you put their e-mails up as ‘dickhead of the week’. I really love girls like you who put man down all the time. It is sooo creative… You can put me down any time and call me anything you like… So thanks for everything you’ve done for me tonight… If you don’t know what that means, there’s a whole pile of used tissues beside my bed that weren’t there until I saw you in your bedroom. PS you’re both real hot.”
Angie looked up. “Is that what young girls want? Strangers wanking over them?”“How did Amy answer that?” Gemma waited while Angie flicked through the e-mails, scanning them briefly.
“She just got nastier.’ Maybe if you just stop wanking all over your keyboard you might get a real girlfriend and stop bothering me. Or better still, the keyboard might blow up and electrocute you
“And listen to this. This is the first writer three e-mails later: you poor little fat shit, here’s me trying to be nice to you but you can’t recognize niceness where you meet it and your fake tan and your fake life and fake ideas just piss me off. you and your phoney schoolfriend should get a life. You haven’t got a clue about anything. Grow up you are so stupid I will show you how to really jam a site with like 50 webmasters with cable modems. STOP PLAYING WITH YOUR OWN SHIT or I might come round and fix you up real good.
“What happened to funny and cute?” Gemma asked.
Angie handed her some pages and she looked through them.
“All the replies start off being pleasant and interested in finding the girls’ website,” Gemma observed. “but then they start getting sexual and suggestive, the girls respond with insults, and the boys come back with abuse. And so it goes on until the end.”
Angie leaned back in her seat. “Sounds like most relationships I know.”
Gemma considered. “I’m remembering something Kit said to me. About relationships.”
“Don’t. I don’t want to hear it.”
“Do you think the girls might have angered someone so much that this person decided to track them down?” Angie asked. “First Amy then Tasmin? And sort them out?”
“That’s what Tracy Lee was suggesting. And it’s as good a theory as any we’ve got so far. It would be dead easy – what with the school banner spelling it out over the bed. He could just hang around at pick-up time, watching the kids at the bus stop, working out where they live.”
“That doesn’t let Mr Romero off the hook, though. Nor the elegant Beatrice de B.’
“Or the old perv next door,” Gemma said, telling Angie about her visit to Alistair Ford’s house; her suspicions about what he’d been doing with that table against the window.”
Angie caught Gemma checking her out and made a face, waving the sheaf of print-outs. “I don’t know if Tracey will be able to get anything much from these e-mails.;
These schoolgirls had much bigger lives than anyone imagined, Gemma thought. Bigger, darker and more dangerous. “Any point in checking it out with any of your integrated corporate resources?”
Any other time, Angie would have smiled. Some years ago, a police trainer had used the phrase when referring to police informants and Gemma and Angie had enjoyed using it ever since.
“I’ve already taken it to the street,” Angie said. She started to get out of the car when her phone rang. “Trevor!” she said. ‘What a surprise!’
Gemma sat up straight. Angie’s voice was smooth as satin. “How nice. And how is it down there in Goulburn?” There was a pause. “I’ll bet it’s hot,” she said, agreeing with something he must have said and flashing Gemma her deadliest narrowed-eyed look.
Gemma found herself almost feeling sorry for the guy.
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