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Santa's Sticky Fingers: Helen Shepherd Mysteries, #13

Santa's Sticky Fingers: Helen Shepherd Mysteries, #13

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Santa's Sticky Fingers: Helen Shepherd Mysteries, #13

56 pages
38 minutes
Dec 22, 2019


Normally, Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd doesn't deal with petty crime and pickpockets. But when the Christmas market in Kingston upon Thames is hit by a wave of thefts, Helen and her team are called in to help out.


Harry, a homeless man who always hangs around the market, seems to be the most obvious suspect. But there is also the mysterious man in the black leather jacket some witnesses claim to have seen. Or maybe, the thief can be found much closer to home…


Can Helen and her team crack the case in time for Christmas?


This is a holiday novelette of 7800 words or approx. 26 print pages in the Helen Shepherd Mysteries series, but may be read as a standalone.

Dec 22, 2019

About the author

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. When she is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher.

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Santa's Sticky Fingers - Cora Buhlert

Santa’s Sticky Fingers

by Cora Buhlert

Bremen, Germany

Copyright © 2019 by Cora Buhlert

All rights reserved.

Cover image © GraphicsUnited

Cover design by Cora Buhlert

Pegasus Pulp Publications

Mittelstraße 12

28816 Stuhr



Santa’s Sticky Fingers

Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd considered herself something of a Grinch, but the ridiculous cosiness of the Kingston upon Thames Christmas Market with its little wooden huts, faux snow covered roofs and twinkling lights could instil some holiday spirit even into her hardened heart.

Since she was here already, she might as well take a look around and get some Christmas gifts while she was at it. Once the business at hand was dealt with, of course.

Next to her, Detective Constable Kevin Walker was much less sanguine.

Why exactly did they send us out to the boondocks to deal with a plague of pickpockets? he grumbled as he trudged across the cobblestones, We’re the Met. We deal with murders, not petty theft.

Yes, we’re the Met and it’s our job to solve crimes, Helen replied dryly, And since there is no convenient murder, pickpockets it is. She cast a sideways glance at DC Walker. Unless you wish to commit one, that is.

No thanks, DC Walker grumbled, kicking a half-eaten chip out of the way. A pigeon eager seized upon it.

But honestly, boss, why us? he continued, "This is nothing that the locals can’t handle. Just have a couple of uniforms patrol the market and voilà, this whole crime wave is a thing of the past."

Helen sighed. Because the chap who organises this whole thing is good friends with the Superintendent. They play golf together or some such thing.

Of course, they do, DC Walker grunted.

They found the chap in question, one Jeremiah Blue, strutting around the market like a capitalist from a Charles Dickens movie, impatiently consulting his very expensive looking watch.

Can I help you? he snapped as Helen and DC Walker approached them.

I hope so, Helen replied dryly and flashed her ID, I’m Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd and this is Detective Constable Kevin Walker of the Metropolitan Police. We heard that you have a problem here.

Oh, you’re the police. Good. Nigel promised me he’d send his best people, after those bumblers from the local station did absolutely nothing.

Detective Superintendent Whittington told us you had a problem with pickpockets and petty crime here, but he didn’t give us any details, Helen said, So would you mind telling us a little more?

Petty crime? Jeremiah Blue exploded, It’s a disaster, an unmitigated disaster.

Helen sincerely doubted that, unless Blue’s definition of ‘unmitigated disaster’ was very different from her own. What precisely happened?

What happened? The Christmas market has been overrun by pickpockets, that’s what happened.

There’s always an uptick in thefts around Christmas, DC Walker pointed out, Pickpockets are an unfortunate side effect of the season.

"Yes, because of all of those damned foreigners — pardon my French — coming into our beautiful

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