The last thing that Lucy Aybrams, a carefree Californian undergraduate at Oxford University sees, before quicklime sears her corneas, is a human anklebone swinging from the fallen roof of a road-protest tunnel in the English countryside.
Infatuated with Dastra, the shy detective assigned to her, she skilfully seduces him, but when he is arrested with an impaled victim in his car and his DNA everywhere, Lucy’s world collapses. To Brian Shackerstone, the senior detective, it is an open and shut case. To Lucy, Dastra is the wrongly convicted father of her unborn child.
Convicted of the “Vlad the Impaler” murders, Dastra is freed on a legal technicality and the people of Britain fear the murderer is free to kill again.When police misconstrue a copycat Manson murder as gangland revenge, there are no obstacles to Vlad filming the ultimate snuff movie in the piano room of Dastra’s remote country mansion.
Question (DI Graham): “Listen. The tape is about to run out and I think we could all do with a break from this interview. I hope there’s nothing else you want to add.”
Answer (Suspect): “I do. They clutch at straws, anything to spin it out. They try to make desperate deals with you at the end. ’I’ll do anything you ask… anything. Please don’t kill me. I won’t tell anyone.’ And then, when they see how they are going to die, they go off their pretty heads. They kick. They scream. It’s a primal scream. It echoes on and on in your mind. It’s a real turn-on…”
Q: (Long silence) “A turn-on?”
(Noise on tape of suspect moving his wheelchair and striking table surface with his hand.)
A: “Yes. (Pause followed by laughter.)”
(Extract from evidential tape transcript.)