The Good Teacher by Rachel Sargeant #Extract #BlogTour

Even the good have to die.
A beloved teacher is murdered and left in a ditch beside a country lane. His wife is found beaten and gagged in their suburban home.
Even the best schools have secrets.
New detective Pippa Adams learns that the teacher ran a homework club for vulnerable pupils. But what did he really teach them?
Even the perfect family has something to hide.
When Pippa scratches the surface of the school community, she meets families who’ve learned a shattering lesson. And finally uncovers the good teacher’s darkest secrets…

It's my pleasure to be one of the publication day blog tour hosts for The Good Teacher by Rachel Sargeant today. Many thanks to Rachel for inviting me and for providing an extract from the book.

Thank you, Karen, for hosting me on your lovely blog. I’d like to share an extract from chapter 4 of The Good Teacher. DC Pippa Adams is supposed to be carrying out house to house enquiries following a murder in the neighbourhood, but doesn’t get very far.

“I didn’t think you’d catch up with me this quickly,” a woman’s voice says through the polished brass letterbox. The door opens a fraction and the voice continues, “Can I ring Stuart – that’s Mr Perkins, my husband – before you take me in? I’m allowed one phone call, aren’t I?”
A pair of hunted green eyes appear and I wonder what crime I’ve stumbled into. Isn’t that how we caught the Briggham killer – routine enquiries into another case? I glance up the road, but my colleagues are nowhere in sight, each having allocated themselves a different avenue on the Southside estate for the house-to-house. I knocked at the first house in a cul-de-sac that runs off the road behind the Brocks’ house.
“I suppose you’ll want to come in while I’m on the phone so I don’t abscond,” the woman says. She opens the door wide.
I step over the threshold. Should I call for backup? After a shaky start on my first day are things about to get even rockier?
“I must be in a lot of trouble if they’ve sent a CID officer,” the woman says. She leads me into the lounge. What villainy could have taken place in a room where paisley pink curtains match the sofa cushions?
“What do you think will happen to me? I know it’s not much of an excuse, but I would like to say in my defence that I only saw it was back this morning.”
“Back this morning?” I ask, trying to disguise my bewilderment. The woman is chatty. I’ll feed her enough rope, get her to confess to whatever it is she’s done and make an arrest. Maybe even redeem myself in DS Matthews’s eyes.
“It was propped against the front wall. I swear it wasn’t there yesterday. And Stuart walked up and down the avenue before we spoke to your officers on Wednesday. There was no sign of it. I know we shouldn’t have kept it in the front garden. The way other people let their children stay out till all hours. It’s asking for trouble in this day and age.”
“Is it?” I ask.
“They’ll take anything if it’s not nailed down, even a tatty old thing like that. Except they didn’t take it because it’s back now. But I swear it wasn’t there yesterday, not since Wednesday.”
“A tatty old thing?”
“I’d had it since college.” She waves a hand at the mantelpiece, which displays two graduation photographs. One is of a youth with wispy hair reaching to his oversized collar and big tie. Stuart? The other is of a young woman with sparkling green eyes and a magnificent smile, lavishly framed by lipstick. I study Mrs Perkins’s tired, pale features. She must be in her late thirties but carries herself as if in middle age. She resembles an Afghan hound with messy, permed hair over her ears. Loose grey cords and a baggy cardigan conceal long limbs. Has a guilty conscience tarnished her former radiance?
“And you spoke to us on Wednesday?” I ask, trying to make a jigsaw out of the pieces the woman is giving me.
“We both came down to the station to make a statement, give a description. We didn’t mean to waste anybody’s time.”
“You wasted our time?” I begin to think she’s wasting mine.
“Are you going to charge me? We thought it had gone. It never occurred to us it would come back.”
I give up. “What came back?”
“My bicycle, of course.” Mrs Perkins raises her voice an octave but returns to deferential tones to explain that she and her husband had reported her bicycle stolen from their front garden on Wednesday but that it reappeared this morning. “I was going to phone you. I didn’t want the police force out looking for it any longer than necessary. I know wasting police time is a serious offence. I’ll just phone Stuart, or should I phone a solicitor?”
My eyes moved back and forth between the woman and her graduation photograph. Intelligence manifests itself in so many ways. I reassure Mrs Perkins that the Brigghamshire Constabulary won’t be taking any further action on this occasion. Doubtless my fellow officers will be delighted that Mrs Perkins’s property has been returned safe and sound. Mrs Perkins launches into a torrent of thanks. When she pauses for air, I explain the real reason for my visit and find myself accepting an offer of a cup of tea.

(Read on to find out how this apparently time-wasting conversation with Mrs Perkins will throw light on a dark and difficult case.)

I can't wait to read more and am really looking forward to sharing my review for the second part of the blog tour on 23rd January! Please visit my co-host today, Donna over at the fantastic Donna's Book Blog for her Q&A with Rachel and check out Rachel's post here about the bloggers taking part in the first half of The Good Teacher blog tour.

The Good Teacher is published by HarperCollins Killer Reads and can be purchased from Amazon UK, Amazon US and in various ebook formats from the HarperCollins website.

Don't forget to follow the tour, details are below.

About the Author 
Rachel Sargeant is the author of Kindle Top Ten bestseller The Perfect Neighbours. She is a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in My Weekly and the Accent Press Saucy Shorts series. Rachel grew up in Lincolnshire, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children.
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