Pt 1 YORSHIRE WANTS ME (chapters 1-3)
Ch. 1 - The story is told by the 1st person narrator Eddie Dunford, a young journalist who moved North to work for the Evening Post and who gained some fame for his article on the infamous Rat Man. At a press conference at Millgarth Police Station, Leeds, Chief Superintendent George Oldman reveals that the young girl Clare Kemplay has disappeared. Eddie manages to find out that since 1969 this is the 3rd girl that has gone missing. The events intermix with the personal life of Eddie whose father has died and whose funeral takes place just after the Press Conference. On top of that, some sort of problematic relationship seems to have developed between him and his colleague Katherine.
Another colleague of his is Jack Whitehead, who behaves sarcastically toward the young reporter. The only one at the newspaper who seems sincere and friendly to him is Barry Gannon
Ch. 2 - Eddie goes to interview first Oldam then the parents of missing girl Susan who blame Oldman for the failed investigation. Whitehead and Oldman do not seem to like the fact that Eddie pokes his nose into the missing girls’ affair. Moreover, Eddie’s boss wants him to collaborate with Whitehead on the case. From his research, Eddie discovers that a white van has often been associated with the disappearence of the girls.
Ch. 3 - Tipped by some anonymous call, Eddie drives towards the outskirt of Leeds, to the Hunslet and Beeston exit of the M1. There, he is witness of a (racist ?) attack against a gypsy camp. Men women and young kids are scared to death and beaten up, while their camp and vans are burnt down by policemen.
Meanwhile the missing girl is found, dead, brutally murdered and with a pair of swan wings stiched to her back.
Afterwards, Eddie goes to meet and interview the mum of Janette Garland, one of the 2 of the missing girls. Her mum, Paula, is also the sister of rugby’s promise John Kelly, who is nowhere to be found. He then visits Mrs Sheard, the neighbour of Goldthrope, the Rat Man as he has been assigned the task of writing more about this – once successful – story the readers seem to like. This new assignments is seen as a way to deter him from delving more into this missing girls story.
Later he meets Barry Gannon who tells him dreadful stories about police Death Squads trained in Northern Ireland.
Two unexpected events end the chapter: his lover Kathrine tells him that she is pregnant and Barry Gannon dies in a car accident. However, Eddie has doubts about the fact that his has been an accidental death. On the spot of the accident, he meets one policeman, Fraser, who seem to be different from the other corrupted and ambiguous officers.
Pt 2 WHISPERING GRASS (ch. 4-9)
Ch. 4 - Eddie goes to Dawson’s house Shangrila to meet him, but he doesn’t find anyone there. He then goes to the house of the Rat Man to have pictures taken for the article he has been asked to write. He is accompanied by the photographer from the newspaper Paul Kelly, the brother of Paula, who tells hm that her husband had shot himself. After searching the house, he is beaten up by 2 policemen.
The mourning for colleague Barry Gannon is then held. Eddie cannot believe he really died in a car accident. He suspects someone wanted him dead for what he knew. And BJ, the male prostitute friend of Barry, wants to meet him. When meeting, BJ gives Eddie a carrier bag full of documents that he wanted Eddie to have in case of his (Barry’s) death.
Ch. 5 - Since things are starting to get a bit worrying for him, Eddie decides to rent a room at the Redbeck Café and Motel. Here, he can go thorugh all the material Barry had left him. He then arranges a meeting with Sgt Fraser and manages to get the names of the 2 workers who discovered the body of Claire in the building construction site that belongs to Foster (the names are Terry Jones and James Ashworth), . Eddie first interviews one the them (Terry Jones), then he drives to Wakefield to the house of the medium Mystic Mandy who, according to her editor, has something to say about the missing girl. She seems to be upset by him and dismisses him saying that he smells of death and repeating the phrase “all the others under those beautiful new carpets”.
Ch. 6 - Eddie plans to meet Arnold Fowler, Marjorie Dawson and James Ashworth.
The first is the expert in birds who found the swans without wings. He meets the wife of John Dawson in the nursing home where she has been admitted to for mental problems. While he is there, 2 policemen get him, beat him up and break his hand. He is then taken to hospital and sent home to his worried mother. However, even if feeling painful, he drives to meet and interview James Ashworth, the second worker who found the dead girl. In Eddie’s mind, just as in Barry’s, things start somehow (even if inexplicably) to be all connected.
Back to Paula’s, he is revealed that she told Donald Foster and his wife that Eddie had come to see her. And afterwards the 2 policemen had beaten him up. Foster is rich, likes Paula’s brother (Johnny the rugby talent) and “he’s a bastard if you cross him”.
Paula is moved by the fact that Eddie cares for the case of her daughter. Eventually they make love.
Unexpectedly, the arrest of the murderer of the girls in announced. He is John Myshkin, 22, of Polish origins, who owns a white van (and lives in the same street as James Ashworth).
Ch. 7 - Details of the arrest are given. Bob Craven ad Bob Douglas are the 2 policemen who forced a white Ford transit van to stop. The man on the van was then taken to the Police station where he confessed the abduction and murder of Clare Kemplay.
Later, Eddie attends the funeral of his colleague Barry. Here he sees Kathrine and meets some men who invite him to follow them to the Karachi Social Club. The 2 men, the Box brothers, tell him thatt they used to give Barry information about the “construction pie”. They also give him photographs of the brother of the Home Office Minister of State having sex with BJ. They want him to blackmail him? Or to make him become part of the game?
After this, he drives to the house of Myshkin and breaks into it just to see a place of degradation. Then he tries to go and meet Foster but he is not in.
Back to Paula’s, he calls Shaw to arrange a meeting and then quarrels with her. She would like to know more about his investigation on the case of her daugheter but he does not want to involve her in this mess.
Ch. 8 – Eddie meets Shaw and learns that BJ did actually blackmail him. He is also told that Foster and Dawson are somehow involved in the murder of Barry Gannon and that the building sites they are working in mean big business.
Then he goes to the Strafford Arms pub, in Wakefield, where he meets Derek Box. He tells derek that he was somehow told that Foster had Barry killed. Darek replies that must have been because Barry was getting too ambitious. He then says that he and Don Foster met in Kenya when they were fighting the Mau Maus who were rebelling against the colonial rule. Eddie understands that Derek wants to involve hm in some sort of revenge game for the murder of his brother.
Back to the paper, an entraged Eddie is given a month off by his boss after an argument with Jack Whitehead on who the real killer of the women is (not Myshkin, maintains Eddie). At the Press Club, afterwards, Eddie tells Jack that th some police officers are guilty of burning down gyspy camps, beating up people to make them confess and otheer crmes, all this with the support of the “good old Yorkshire Post”. Jack replies that he’ll end up just like Barry.
At the end of the day he goes to Paula’s. Lovemaking and nightmares alternate in his interior monologue.
Ch. 9 - The following day a furious Paula throws at him a newspaper with an article about her and her feeling for the death of her family. Eddie, however, replies saying that he didn’t write the artiche, but she doesn’t believe him and throws him out of her house.
Moreover, the dead body of Mandy Denizili, the medium, is found. Madder and madder for what seems to be happening to peole he knows and met, Eddie goes back to Room 27 and calls Fraser to arrange a meeting.
When the two meets, Eddie tells Fraser that he thinks he is being set up by his collage Craven and Douglas. He then gives him all the material he has, because he is afraid something might happen to him. In Exchange, Fraser gives him the address where to find Paula’ s brother John Kelly. So, Eddie drives there and, in an animated conversation, he learns what happened to him: he was having an affair with Foster’s wife and one night, while driving home, they had an accident and hit a man. Then, he took her home and disappeared, afraid of her husband’s reaction. John also tells him that Dawson was (is) having sex with Paula.
After the meeting with Kelly, Eddie, more and more infuriated, drives to Dawson’s House, Shangrila, where a Christimas Ball party has been organized. He is there to meet Paula, whom he can’t find. At the party, Eddie can see influential people from the world of the Law and the Press and the Finance. AFter shouting at Dawson, he is brutally thrown out of the house.
Pt 3 WE ARE THE DEAD (ch. 10-12)
Ch. 10 – Eddie is arrested for the death of Mandy the medium and of Paula Garland. He is made to confess, after being repeatedly tortured. He also sees (or images he sees) the corpse of Paula.
Ch. 11 – Somehow set free, he wanders around town and eventually manages to get to Room 27, where he meets Fraser who managed to find Eddie’s den. Eddie tells him that he thinks Foster is the mastermind behind all these deaths, but Fraser cannot see the reason why he should have done it.
He then goes to Foster’s. First he ses his wife, wild. The the corpse of her husband and, inside the house, Johm Kelly with the hammer he must have used to kill him. Eddie wants him say who had they bumped into the night of the accident. Eventually, Foster’s wife says it was the Gaffer, one of Foster’s men, George Marsh.
Eddie, therefore, drives to his house only to find the fat wife giggling half crazy. After threatening her, by forse he manages to find out where the husband is. He is lying, dying, inside a mine tunnel under a shed behind their house. It is here – apparently - where he planned the murders of the girls and where pictures were taken and tapes recorded. Myshkin and James Ashworth might have somehow been involved too.
Ch. 12 – Eddie goes to Shangrila and discovers the plans for a shopping mall, the Swan centre, in the same place where the gyspy camp had been. In the garage he finds the corpses of Mr and Mrs Dawson, dead, suffocated, with a freezer bag around their heads. Then he calls his mum to say goodbye.
He then drives to the Stafford Pub where he confronts Derex Box and friends. First, he makes him confess that he killed Foster and Barry and Paula, then he kills him and his friend Paul and, before leaving, he wounds the policeman Douglas and hits with the gun Craven.
Finally, he drives away towards the moor, facing death.....