By Laurence Watkinson
First published: November 2012 (first Kindle edition)
Minority Rapport is a murder mystery story whose complex plot weaves its way in and around minority groups in Britain's favourite seaside resort, Blackpool.
The body of a large, well-built black man is discovered in a chic flat in a quiet residential area near North Shore Golf Course. He's been brutally stabbed. But who is he?
Detective Sergeant Lucy Brown's convinced this isn't the man's own home. It's registered to a Dr Charlie Sefton who teaches at Blackpool University - and who didn't turn up for work this morning. Where has Dr Sefton disappeared to? Was the dead man Dr Sefton's partner? Illicit lover? A burglar?
A separate train of inquiry opens up that leads to Henry Middleton-Smith, a well-known local businessman who's also a city councillor - and the national leader of the BNP. What are the connections between the outspoken councillor, widely considered to be openly racist, and the murder victim, and the other suspects?
But then a white doctor is gunned down near his home in central Blackpool by two black men. The BNP announces that he was a paid-up party member. Has violent retaliation begun? Or are BNP leaders crying victim for political purposes?
A top cop from out of town is selected to lead an inquiry into the apparently racially-motivated killings. But it's revealed that he himself has a background of alleged racism. In some quarters, a police cover-up is expected. But in a new twist, a member of his team produces a minority report which reaches a very different conclusion. Given current tensions, the publication of either or both of these reports would be highly controversial and could spark trouble.
Blackpool's Chief Constable Sir Ali Dar is a British Pakistani social climber who tries to combine being more English than the English with not losing his Pakistani Muslim heritage, and he sometimes feels he can't do right for doing wrong. But now he's confronted with the situation of a potential race war in his city.
The BNP organises an emergency national conference in Blackpool to elect a new leader. An opposing radical group called Anti-Fascist Action begins mobilising hundreds of activists to demonstrate against the BNP, and the police fear riots. Should Sir Ali Dar seek to have the BNP conference banned in the interests of public order? Or would this be seen as an attack on free speech and legitimate political activity, and make matters horribly worse?
For Detective Chief Inspector Bill Ramsbottom, investigating the murders, matters are complicated by overlapping events. The gay vicar of All Hallows Church is hounded out of his job by homophobic extremists – who appear to overlap with Christian fundamentalists who may or may not overlap with the local BNP.
And on top of all that, we may be witnessing a new concept in ideological terrorism.