Being Johnny

Chapter 1


I know it has taken time to get this next book in the series out, my apologies. The delays are my fault, though I will blame some of it on Covid. It would not, though, have been out yet if it had not been for the help of a number of people.

I must thank Pedro, for reading letting me bounce ideas off him and for reading and commenting on the first draft, comments that resulted in some extensive rewrites. Then there are Mark and Clarke who worked on proofreading and editing the early drafts. Finally, there are Rec and Tom who edited and proofread the final version. Without the help and support of these people I would not have got this book out for at least another couple of years.

Acknowledgement must be given also to the many Dutch men whose stories about the treatment of gay men during the war have given me a major storyline in this book. I may not have remembered their names, it was nearly 40 years ago that I heard these stories, but what they told me I have not forgotten. I hope that be including some elements of their history in this book I will help keep the memory of those events alive.

Nigel Gordon, Leicester, England – January 2022

Introduction – Being a “ — Recap of Living with Johnny”

Being Johnny is Book Two of the Johnny series. It was originally planned as a trilogy, but if I ever decide to expand all the notes I have made, there may be more to be written about Johnny in the future. If you have not read Book One, Living with Johnny, I suggest you do. Being Johnny does not really stand alone. If you have read Book One but want a recap refresher, the following might be helpful in remembering what has happened If you have not read Book One, what follows includes many spoilers.

Michael Carlton (Mike) is a divorced technical writer living in the coastal village of Lynnhaven in the backwaters of Essex on the Blackwater. He makes a nice living for himself and has for a number of years been involved in a relationship with Anne, the lunchtime barmaid at the local pub. He has a fifteen-year-old son, Jonathan, whom he has not seen since the divorce, when Jonathan, better known as Johnny, was a few months old. Michael has, though, continued to support Johnny and made a point of sending him birthday and Christmas presents.

Johnny, the now fifteen-year-old son of Mike and Beryl Carlton-Smith, a leading barrister, has been expelled yet again from a minor public school, which, in England is one of the many private boarding schools that provide a high-level education for those who can afford it. Johnny’s school costs about £8000 a term. There are three terms a year.

Johnny, is a bit too much for his mother, and shortly before Easter she turns up on Mike’s doorstep at two in the morning with Johnny in tow. She informs Mike that Johnny is now his problem. Once she had gone, Johnny tells Mike that he is gay. He also lets Mike know that he deliberately got himself expelled to scupper his mother’s plans for him. Beryl wanted Johnny to go on to do A-levels and then to university to study law, with the expectation that he would become a barrister like herself. Johnny does not want to do this. Instead, he wants to design yachts, an interest he blames on his father, who gave him a book about yachts for Christmas one year.

Mike calls Anne and asks her to call in at the bungalow before she goes to work. When she arrives, he introduces Johnny to Anne. The two immediately get on with each other, Anne liking Johnny’s quick repartee. When Anne goes off to work, Johnny asks Mike when he is going to marry her. This pushes Mike into proposing to Anne. He then has to let friends and family know. The result of this is that Johnny finds out he has two uncles, Phil Smith and Ben Carlton. Phil Smith is Beryl’s brother and Ben Carlton is Mike’s brother. The pair are lovers and well-known actors. Phil, being known by the stage name Matthew Lewis. Ben originally trained and worked as a psychologist but was also a keen martial artist. He got to know Phil when he was teaching martial arts to him and other cast members from a TV series. Ben becomes fight director to the series and ends up appearing in it and becoming an actor. Phil is on a course from being an actor to being a director/producer.

Johnny also finds out he has a godfather, Bernard LeBrun, who is a solicitor and the son of Isaac LeBrun, the head of the LeBrun fashion house, in which Bernard has a large shareholding;. Mike also has a shareholding. Bernard is Mike’s oldest friend, the two of them growing up together in Golders Green, London. Until they were eleven, Mike and Bernard went to the same school.

When Anne learns that Johnny wants to design yachts, she gets him a part-time job with her uncle, Steve Johnson, who is younger than Anne. Steve manages the Hamden Yard, a boatyard on Long Creek, an inlet of the Blackwater. The boatyard stands on High Marsh, an area of high land that separates Long Creek from the coastal salt marsh. High Marsh can only be accessed by car via a chain ferry or a causeway when the tide allows.

To make room for Johnny in the bungalow, Anne tells Mike to move her caravan from her house into the car porch. She intends for Mike to use this as his office and his office to be turned back into a bedroom for Johnny. However, Johnny prefers to use the caravan as his bedroom as it gives him some private space.

Mike takes Johnny into Dunford, a small harbour town, to get him a bike and clothing to wear in the boatyard. While they are there, Mike also takes Johnny to get his phone sorted out. They go to an electrical-appliance shop down one of the side streets. There Johnny meets Arthur Lee, a computer nerd and mobile-phone repair man, who is seventeen. Arthur runs a computer business for his foster father, who is also his uncle, from the back of the electrical-goods store. Arthur and Johnny hit it off immediately, and Arthur invites Johnny to the local youth club, where he DJs.

It turns out that Arthur is gay, and Arthur and Johnny are attracted to each other. Johnny has a lot of sexual experience, having used sex to get what he wants in the past. He is, therefore, surprised when Arthur turns down his offer of sex.

Mike becomes aware that Johnny was introduced to sex when he was quite young; he had been dumped by Beryl on French friends for holidays. The people involved being a boy a few years older than Johnny called Marcel and somebody called Oncle Jacque. Marcel, from age about eleven, had been abused by men who regularly visited the villa that Johnny stayed at, which was owned by his mother. Johnny confirmed that his mother knew of the abuse.

Arthur’s foster parents are members of an evangelical church run by a character known as Brother Peter. As such, they took a very puritanical view of things.

Mike realises that the bungalow he currently lives in is far too small for a family to live in. He is also doing fairly well as a result, in particular, of a maths textbook he wrote some time ago and having recently been adopted by a number of universities as a standard text for science students who do not have a mathematics background. Given this, he agrees to buy The Priory, a large Victorian-period house on the outskirts of Dunford. The property comes with a sizable acreage of land, a number of outbuildings and a walled garden. Immediately to the rear of the house is a large yard, bordered by the house, a coach house and a stable block, known at the Stable House. Along the other side of the yard are a series of old animal pens in some disrepair.

Mike thinks that the property, which requires a lot of work, is well beyond what he can afford, due to the fact that the banks are reluctant to give him a mortgage as he has no guaranteed income. Bob Southern, Mike’s literary agent, introduces Mike to a cousin of Bernard, a London financial advisor, who arranges funding for Mike against his royalty income. This means he can buy the Priory. Mike talks to a friend, Matt, who is an architect and has a building company, about doing the work required at the Priory.

Mike takes Anne and Johnny to Kent for a weekend to stay with Bernard, and Debora, his wife. They go down on Friday afternoon, and Mike has to explain to Johnny that they need to arrive before sunset because Bernard and Debora are Jewish and will be celebrating Shabbat. When they arrive at Bernard’s house in Kent, Johnny meets Joseph, Bernard’s younger son and a year younger than Johnny. He also meets Joseph’s older brother, Micah, and his girlfriend, Bethany. Bethany is of Burmese descent and is a Buddhist.

While Mike is at Bernard’s he is told by Bernard that Isaac LeBrun is about to step down as chairman of his fashion company. Bernard expresses an opinion that once that happens there are likely to be two consequences: the share price in the company will drop and there is likely to be a takeover bid from one of the major luxury fashion brands. The news breaks on the Monday morning, and the value of shares in the LeBrun fashion house plummets. Mike tells his broker to buy options on LeBrun stock. He uses all his spare liquid assets to buy over ten thousand pounds worth of options on the stock.

Johnny’s uncles, Phil and Ben, own a large, country-house estate in the Midlands called Manston, which they run as a hotel/events venue. The Tuesday after Easter, Mike takes Anne and Johnny up to Manston at Phil’s and Ben’s invitation. It is there that Johnny meets his grandparents, Beryl’s parents, who he had thought were dead.

In providing a lift from the station to Manston for Joseph as a favor to Bernard, Joseph tells Mike about some trouble he is in. Mike is able to sort it out, but, in the process, Joseph admits to Mike that he is gay. Mike then finds himself in the difficult position of knowing that both Johnny and Joseph are gay but not able to tell the one about the other as that would be a breach of confidence.

On the Friday there is an engagement party for Mike and Anne. At it, Johnny meets Trevor Spade, the star of the film that Phil is producing and directing called That Woman’s Son. Trevor Spade is the son of Mike’s literary agent Bob Southern and his wife Susan. Trevor’s real name is Eric Trevor Southern. Spade is his mother’s maiden name. Trevor is at Manston to do a promotional interview for the film on the Sunday.

Trevor initially started in films as a child star in a series of fantasy films in which he played a rogue elf prince. He was recruited for the part by the assistant director on the film, Mark Gleeson, and his production assistant, Dean Mayers. Trevor regards Mark Gleeson as his mentor to whom he owes his part in the film series.

The Saturday after their arrival at Manston at a formal dinner party. Phil intends to introduce Tyler Lawrence, an actor of West Indian descent, to those attending as Trevor’s co-star. However, Phil is unaware that there is a history between Trevor and Tyler. Trevor blames Tyler for the arrest and imprisonment of Mark Gleeson on child-sexual-abuse charges. When Phil brings Tyler into the room, Trevor starts to attack Tyler; Mike stops him and gets him out of the room.

Ben, who is a trained clinical psychologist and holds a master’s degree in child psychology, gets Trevor to tell him, Mike, and Phil what it is all about. When Phil hears what Trevor has said, he calls in Allen Davidson, who is head of security for Manston. Allen was in charge of security on the film shoot when Mark Gleeson was arrested. Allen tells Trevor that Tyler had nothing to do with Mark being arrested and did not give evidence against Mark as he could not remember anything; he had been drugged before being taken to Mark Gleeson’s room. The drugging incident had been spotted by an hotel employee who was suspicious and alerted Allen. When hotel security and Allen arrived at the room, they heard Tyler screaming. The hotel security man used his pass key to open the door and found Mark Gleeson raping Tyler. The hotel security man, being ex-police, contacted the local police. They would have been contacted, in any case, as Tyler had been heavily drugged and needed an ambulance, which would have brought the police automatically. So, it was not Tyler’s fault that Gleeson was arrested.

Once Trevor understands this,. he opens up about things. It turns out that after Gleeson’s arrest, Dean Mayers had forced Trevor into having sex with men and making child-pornography films. Trevor is very upset with the turn in events, especially as he had blamed Tyler for everything for years. Now Trevor feels guilty for keeping Tyler out of the rest of the film series; he was dropped after the first film.

When Trevor apologies to Tyler, Tyler tells him that him being dropped had nothing to do with Trevor. He was dropped because he was too ill, following the effects of the drugs and the rape, to start filming on the due date. Trevor is still very upset about everything. Johnny has to spend the night in Trevor’s room looking after him.

The following day, Trevor comes out as being gay during the interview to promote the film. This was something that had been arranged in advance as the publicity people had got wind that the News of the World was about to do an exposure on him. By announcing it first, they press article was killed. The promotion interview is shown on the Monday.

On the Tuesday, there is an offer made for LeBrun fashion. A bidding war starts between two major, luxury fashion brands, and the share price rockets. Mike makes a killing when he exercises his options and sells his shares at the top of the market. This means he has more than sufficient money to get the work done on the Priory.

On the Thursday, Mike and Anne go to London. Johnny goes with them, saying he is going to meet a friend. The friend turns out to be Trevor, who is having a bit of a problem being hounded by the press. Johnny asks if Trevor can come and stay with them in Lynnhaven. He says Trevor can stay in the caravan. Mike agrees that he can.

Trevor meets Arthur at the youth club. On Saturday, Johnny, Arthur, and Trevor have agreed to meet up at a local burger bar. However, when they get there, it is closed as there had been an incident the previous night and somebody got stabbed. They later hear that a youth known to Arthur and Johnny from the youth club, Ian Jenkins, has been arrested. Johnny gets his godfather, whom he calls Uncle Bernard, to defend Ian.

Phil and Ben use their celebrity to take Johnny and his friends to a theme park for Johnny’s 16th birthday.

Bernard goes to see Mary Jenkins, Ian’s mother and finds that there has been a history of problems around the family. It appears that the Henderson family is trying to drive her out of the family farm. When Bernard looks into things, he finds a lot of stuff does not add up. As a result, he decides to get somebody to investigate what is going on.

Arthur’s foster father finds out that Arthur has been in the company of Trevor. There is a row during which Arthur accuses Brother Peter of having raped him. His foster father tries to hit Arthur with a riding crop. Arthur grabs it, breaks it and throws it in the fire. His foster parents throw him out of the house. Arthur ends up at Mike’s in the early hours of Monday morning. Mike says that he can stay with them.

On Monday morning, Mike, Johnny, Trevor and Arthur go to Chelmsford magistrate’s court for Ian’s hearing. Bernard turns up with Sir Henry, a top London QC. With Sir Henry’s help, they get bail for Ian. One of the conditions of the bail is that he cannot be within ten miles of Dunford, so Bernard arranges for him to stay at Manston.

Arthur is worried about how he is going to make a living now he no longer works for his foster father. He also finds out that his foster father is closing down the internet service business that Arthur used to run. Mike suggests to him that he should start his own internet-service business. Mike, Trevor and Johnny all put some funds into the start-up. One thing that Arthur needs is a high location to put the transponders that he uses to supply internet services to people who are too far from the exchange for the wired service that BT supply. Mike suggests he can use the clock tower on the Stable House at the Priory.

One thing that has been worrying Anne and Mike is who will look after the Priory while they are away on their honeymoon. Johnny will also be away as he has his GCSE exams to take. Since Arthur is staying with them, he can look after the new house while Matt, the architect/builder, starts the essential work.

The Wednesday before the wedding Mike, Anne and Johnny move into the Priory, accompanied by Arthur. During an examination of the Stable House clock tower, Arthur discovers that there is an apartment in the upper floor and asks Mike if he can live there.

When Anne, Mike and Johnny go up to Manston for Anne and Mike’s wedding, they take Ian’s mother with them to see her son. When they arrive, it turns out that Mary Jenkins is known to Mrs M, the manager of Manston. In fact, Mrs M has been looking for Mary to do some work for her. They used to work together but lost touch many years ago. Mary Jenkins, who is known professionally as Mary Simpson, is offered the job of Events Manager at Manston.

Bernard, Debora and Joseph are guests at Manston for the wedding. Bernard introduces Mike to an old friend, Miss Jenkins, an elderly woman, who seems familiar to Mike. It is only later he remembers he has seen her at one of Ben’s martial-arts classes, and Ben had told her that she was involved in a London crime family. Mike goes to Bernard to warn him, but Bernard says he knows and that Miss Jenkins is not a member of the crime family; she is the head of it. He points out that he needs information about what is going on in Dunford with the Henderson family, and who better at getting information than somebody who has business, albeit questionable, in obtaining information and selling it.

Phil and Ben inform Mike that they intend to put their extensive property portfolio into a trust for Johnny. When Mike objects, pointing out that they might well want to adopt or have a child via a surrogate sometime, Phil tells Mike about his past. When he was 16, he was convicted of a sexual offence with a younger boy. As a result, Social Services would never allow them to adopt, and if they were to have a child by surrogate, it would be taken from them by Social Services. He also tells Mike that putting the properties into the trust is protecting their businesses. They have a number of businesses which are located in the properties and are dependent on those properties. Phil has had problems raising the funds for the film they are currently making. As a result, he has had to give a number of personal guarantees. By setting up the trust, they ensure that if everything were to go pear shaped, the creditors would not be able to get their hands on the properties and therefore close down the businesses. This gives Johnny some independent wealth in his own right and an associated income from it. Bernard and Mike become trustees of the Johnny’s trust.

When Mike and Anne return from their honeymoon, they settle into the PrioryPriory, living in a temporary space whilst Matt makes an apartment over the coach house. The idea is that Mike, Anne and Johnny will live in the apartment whilst Matt’s people are working on the main house. Matt also gets the Stable House apartment up to a liveable condition for Arthur.

Mike starts to get work as an ‘expert commentator’ on a number of BBC radio programmes. This leads to more work and an offer to present a TV series. Bob puts him in touch with a specialist theatrical agent, Irene Kaufman, who will represent him. This results in Mike becoming a TV personality, with an increase in income. Even the fees he gets for his science writing, go up.

Arthur quickly gets the business started, being able to pick up most of the customers that his foster father has made him lose in closing down the original business. He also starts to offer computer-system and network-support services and quickly is very busy.

Whilst the couple have been on their honeymoon, Miss Jenkins has started to look into what is going on in Dunford. Not only by herself but also with the help of members of her ‘family’ in the form of a number of nieces and nephews. Miss Jenkins is somewhat surprised to find that Ian Jenkins is in fact related to her, being her great nephew, the grandson of her brother, whom she lost contact with many years before. This gives her an added incentive in proving his innocence. She starts to collect evidence that Brother Peter, Peter Henderson, is running a con with the church he has taken over. There is also indication that he is the centre of a large-scale conspiracy involving members of the local police force who are related to him and a gang of youths who are led by his nephew John Henderson.

A relationship starts to develop between Trevor and Arthur. Trevor asks Mike if he can move into the Stable House apartment with Arthur. It quickly becomes apparent that Arthur and Trevor are a couple.

One evening at the youth club, there is a discussion about sexual abuse. Johnny, without saying any names, relates how one of his friends has been the victim of sexual abuse. He is asked if this has been reported. Johnny says that it was not at the time but has been now. This is overheard by John Henderson, who assumes that it refers to Peter Henderson’s rape of Arthur.

Johnny had hoped to go to the International Boat Building School but finds out that he has to be 18 to attend. He also discovers that to design yachts, he really needs specialist qualifications. This results in him deciding to go to Further Education college to do his A-levels with a view of to getting on a marine-engineering course at university after he has done the International Boat Building School course.

Joseph has been in rebellion against his parents over the fact that his mother has very specific ideas about what Joseph should be. He is also being bullied at school. He rebels by saying he is going to be a barber. One day whilst he is staying at the Priory, it comes out that he really wants to be an architect. In the following confrontation with his parents, Joseph comes out as gay in front of Johnny. This leads to Johnny and Joseph getting into a relationship. Joseph gets an internship in Matt’s contractor office over the summer.

One day when they are exploring the grounds, Johnny and Joseph find the remains of an old tide-mill race. This results in an archaeological investigation of the site which identifies the property as an old monastic site. There is a large barn on the property, which backs onto the car park of the Crooked Man, the pub just down the road from the Priory. This is identified as a 13th Century tithe barn.

It becomes apparent that the facilities at the Stable House are not sufficient for the demands of the growing business. Mike takes Arthur and Trevor to look at a property on the outskirts of Dunford that used to be a news agent’s. The property is a post-war prefabricated building. After they have looked at the property, Trevor and Mike leave Arthur as he has business in town, and they go off to Maldon to get a repair for the wheel of Johnny’s bike. On the way back, Trevor spots Arthur lying on the verge by the side of the road leading up to the Priory. Arthur has clearly been the victim of a hit and run.

While Arthur is in hospital, it becomes clear that there is a threat to everybody. So, Miss Jenkins arranges for some of her people to provide security for the Priory, and that includes covering Johnny at college. To this end one of Miss Jenkins ‘nieces’, enrols at the at the college.

Of course, a major concern is what will happen to Arthur’s business with him in hospital. Miss Jenkins gets her ‘nephew’, Neal, and his girlfriend, Maddie, to take responsibility for running it. They are both computer nerds. Neal, Maddie and Johnny quickly become friends.

Anne also enrols for college to do an access course so she can go to university. She enrols for computer science. Over the summer, Mike has been working on a book about climate change in response to a request from his agent Bob. The pre-publication reviews of the book result in Mike being invited to speak at a conference on climate change in Paris at the end of October.

Work has been completed on the main part of the Priory, and the family move from the apartment to the main house. Mike is not sure what to do with the apartment. Originally, he intended to use it for holiday lets, turning it into two apartments, but now he is not so sure. With his increased public profile, he rather likes the privacy of the yard and would lose that if it was open to tourists.

Anne has made friends with another woman, Marcia, who is also at the college. During a very heavy rainstorm, the buses are cancelled and Marcia cannot get home. Mike, on Anne’s instruction, takes Marcia back to the Priory.. They then arrange for Marcia’s children to be collected from the high school and brought to the Priory. When the children, Tariq and Jasmin arrive, it is clear that Tariq has been badly injured. Marcia confirms that her husband, Chaswin, attacked Tariq when he became aware that Tariq was gay. This led to Chaswin fleeing the country after emptying both the business and their personal bank accounts. Marcia and the children are now living with Marcia’s parents in conditions which are far from suitable. Mike offers, very much at Johnny’s prompting, the apartment to Marcia. So, Marcia, Tariq and Jasmin move in.

Mike asks Bernard to help Marcia, who is in a bit of a financial mess with everything and not sure what is really going on. The bank has put the business into administration and foreclosed on her house. Bernard gets involved and puts the case in the hands of his assistant, Martin Clay. Martin and Marcia soon become involved with each other.

Ian’s case comes up at the Old Bailey. He is defended by Miss Ravensbrook. During the cross examination of Detective Sargent Peter McCormac, Miss Ravensbrook produces a recording of a telephone conversation between Peter Henderson and Peter McCormac which shows that the incident involving Ian had been set up by the Hendersons to incriminate Ian. It also indicates that Peter McCormac was responsible for the death of Ian’s father and the false conviction of Terry Jenkins, Ian’s older brother. McCormac tries to flee the court but is stopped. The judge orders the arrest of the Hendersons.

The refectory at the college is being run primarily by John Henderson. The Hendersons have been using the refectory as a means of distributing drugs to students at the college. As a result, the food is of poor quality and generally overpriced. Most students go to Marge’s café, across the road from the college for refreshments.

Mike goes to pick Johnny up from the college. He arrives just as the police arrive to arrest John Henderson. Johnny comes out of the college and stands by the door talking to a girl who is with him. He indicates to his father that he will be 5 minutes. Then a shot is heard, and John Henderson runs out the door with a gun in his hand. He grabs the girl and points the gun at Johnny. Johnny, who has learnt savate whilst he was in France for most of his holidays since he was six or seven, uses a savate kick to incapacitate John Henderson just as he fires at Johnny. In the incident Johnny is slightly wounded, apparently from shrapnel caused when the bullet hits the wall behind him. There is another shot as John Henderson lands on the gun. It hits him in the stomach.

Johnny, a police officer who was shot by John Henderson, and John Henderson are taken to hospital. When John Henderson dies, the local police are insistent on arresting Johnny for murder. However, Detective Inspector Manley, from the Metropolitan Police, who had been leading the investigation of the Hendersons, advises against it. They do, though, insist on arresting Johnny, but are prevented from taking him into custody by Dr. Peter Lovell, who is partner of Steve Johnson, the boatyard owner. Dr. Lovell refuses to discharge Johnny from the hospital. Shortly after Johnny’s arrest, a member of Parliament raises a question about the incident to the Terresa May, the Home Secretary. When she gives details of the event and praises Johnny’s actions, she is asked if she will recommend him for an honour. She confirms that she will. She is then asked why he has been arrested.

All this results in severe embarrassment for the local police. Initially, they want Johnny to accept a caution, but Bernard, as Johnny’s solicitor, refuses and forces them to drop all charges. Johnny is subsequently commended by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and awarded the George Medal.

Mike has to go to Paris for the launch of his book on climate change. He takes Anne and Johnny over with him. At the launch, he meets John Dupree a Canadian scientist and educator who talks to Mike about translating his book into French. John Dupree is accompanied by his grandson, Marc Dube. During a boat trip, Marc suggests translating Mike’s maths book into French.

Phil and Ben use the Priory for some of the location shoots for That Woman’s Son. During one of his stays at the Priory, Tyler asks Mike if he can rent one of the office units. Mike has converted the old stables into a set of offices. Also, the outbuildings are being converted to studio/workshops and holiday apartments. Tyler wants to use the office as a base for a business he is acquiring. He also takes on one of the estate properties so that he will have a base in the UK.

Marcia’s husband, Chaswin, is blown up in a suicide-bomb attack in Pakistan. As a result, there is no need to proceed with the divorce. Bernard’s firm is able to show that the bank acted improperly in putting the business into administration and foreclosing on Marcia’s and Chaswin’s house. As a result, Marcia is able to get control of the business again and goes up to sort it out. She gets Chaswin’s former business partner to return to the business and take it over.

Marcia’s cousin, Chris, calls around to sort out a problem with Anne’s car. He finds out that Mike is looking for somebody to run the holiday accommodation in the apartments above the studio/workshop accomodation they are developing. Chris puts him in touch with his ex-wife Jan. When Jan comes to look at the setup, she has to inform Mike that it will not work for holiday accommodation. Her recommendation is to turn the apartments and the studio/workshops into an arts-and-crafts venue, using the three small barn units in the outbuildings as exhibition and course venues. Jan does a deal with Mike to take over the running of the outbuildings on a profit-sharing lease. During the setting up of this deal, it turns out that the Stable House, the outbuildings, walled garden and tithe barn are actually part of what was Grange Farm and have a separate address to that of the Priory. The Priory is in Dunford. Grange Farm, technically being in Lower Southmead, a village which no longer exists. It was demolished when the railway sidings, which are at the back of the property, were built in during the 19th century.

Tariq tells Johnny that he has a boyfriend, JayDee (James Daniel Seymour Jr.), but has not been able to contact him since the attack by his father. It turns out that JayDee’s parents are divorced, and his father, James Seymour, is in Australia, where he is a consultant trauma surgeon. Johnny discovers that JayDee’s mother, who is Trinidadian has sent JayDee to Trinidad to be ‘cured’. This was done without the consent of his father, which should have been obtained. Mike is able to contact James Seymour and finds out that James has been trying to contact his son. The boy should have gone out to Australia for the summer holidays but did not go. When informed about what has happened, James says he will fly over. However, Mike puts him in touch with Bernard’s firm.

In the meantime, Tariq has found out that Tyler and Trevor will be filming on location in Trinidad. He asks them to look for JayDee. When Phil finds out about this, he is horrified at the potential publicity. As a result, he gets Allen involved to search for JayDee.

JayDee is found and brought back to England. James flies back from Australia for a short visit but promises to come back at Christmas. In the meantime, he arranges for JayDee to live with Tariq and Marcia. Given what has happened, the courts will not allow JayDee to be taken out of the country. During his visit, James meets Anne’s sister, Jenny, who is in a wheelchair following an accident whilst show jumping.

During her investigation into the Hendersons and their activities in the Dunford area, Miss Jenkins had managed to link them to both Andrew Mayers aka Dean and a character known as Master James. Master James is a particularly nasty sadist who was taken down by Maddie with the assistance of Miss Jenkins. That story is told in A Walk on The Wild Side. Miss Jenkins later is able to link them with an organisation known as Die Vereeniging, a group of ethnic German criminals based in Argentina.

In the lead-up to Mayers trial, Bernard learns that Beryl is going to be the defence barrister for Mayers. This surprises Bernard as it is not the type of case she usually takes. However, Bernard has a personal grudge against Beryl, so offers his services to the prosecution, specifically, in dealing with a defence expert witness named Susan Kilpatrick, a psychologist from the United States. Bernard gets Mike to do a search to find all the articles that Susan Kilpatrick has written. It quickly becomes clear that she is a strong advocate of false-memory syndrome. Mike is able to establish that Kilpatrick is essentially an opinion for hire.

Bernard appoints Mike to be a legal clerk so that Mike can be in the court during the trial. He also gets Mike to work with Martin in sorting out an index system so they can quickly look up statements made by Susan Kilpatrick that contradict what she might be saying in the witness box.

Mike’s car is out of action, and he has to be in London for a meeting. Martin offers him a lift in, but on the way, he has to go to Chelmsford Crown Court for a plea-and-directions hearing. As Mike is legally part of the legal practice, Martin takes him down to the interview room to meet the prisoner, Lee Sanderson, a 19-year-old black youth who is over six foot in height and very muscular.

Martin leaves Mike with Lee in the interview room whilst he goes to talk to the barrister who will be representing Lee in court. In this way, as there is a member of the law firm in the interview room with Lee, Lee will not be returned to the cells. Whilst Lee and Mike are talking, Mike becomes very impressed with the young man.

Later, on the way into London, Mike asks Martin about Lee and is told that he has basically been stitched up by the local gang where he lives to take the rap for something he did not do. Martin tells Mike that Lee is a good kid who was planning on going to university, but now everything has been ruined for him. He really has no choice but to go guilty on a lesser charge and get up to four years for something he did not do. It turns out that Lee had worked for Martin’s father, who is a solicitor.

John Dupree has sent Mike the manuscript for a book about climate-change technologies. Mike thinks this could make a good factual TV series. At a meeting organised by Janet Long, an agent working with Bob who specialises in TV and film rights, Mike finds himself taking on the role of producer for the series. When he discusses this with Janet and with Phil and Ben, they all advise him to get an assistant to take most of the routine work, like keeping his calendar, off him.

Mike asks Martin what will happen to Lee, as Lee had mentioned an offer of a job in London. Mike explains to Lee that the job offer in London would be for something like a bouncer at a club run by one of the gangs. Lee would be indebted to one of the gang leaders for the job, so would be expected to help out by doing favours for the gang. Sooner or later, he would be caught doing something and convicted. By then, he would be completely involved in the gang, and there would be no way out for him.

Mike arranges for Martin to take him on a visit to see Lee. During the visit Mike offers Lee a job as his assistant, with accommodation thrown in. Lee accepts.

A series of articles start to appear in the press, attacking Ben and Phil. Johnny sees his mother’s hand in these leaks of information as he has seen her do the same thing before. He tells Mike he is going to a party which Neal his holding in London and goes up to Town on the Saturday. Later, Mike learns that Neal is in Cambridge and there is no party. Mike gets upset with Johnny.

One article appears which gives details about Phil’s conviction. It specifically portrays Phil as being a paedophile who prayed on an underage boy. The article fails to mention that Phil was just 16 and the boy only two days younger. In the article, there is information which could only have come from Beryl. Mike, who has both Ben’s and Phil’s power of attorney, is summoned to London to a meeting with Bernard’s and Phil’s publicity people. He initiates an action in defamation for Phil.

Leni, who is now Phil’s and Ben’s driver, come Man Friday, goes on morning TV and reveals that he is the supposed victim of the offence and that what happened was nothing like what was suggested.

When it comes to the trial of Mayers, Beryl puts forward a defence based on the allegation that Trevor was actually assaulted by Ben and Phil and that Ben then planted in Trevor’s mind the suggestion that Mayers had been involved. However, Phil and Ben had set up an elaborate deception, which made the press think that they and Trevor were at Manston, while in fact they were at the Priory. Things are even more complicated by the fact that Trevor states he spent the last week up to the start of the trial with his boyfriend at the Stable House, Grange Farm, Lower Southmead, whilst Ben states he was at his brother’s house, The Priory, Lynnhaven Road, Dunford. This confuses the defence.

Things get worse when Susan Kilpatrick gives evidence about false-memory syndrome to the court. In his cross-examination of Dr. Kilpatrick, Bernard, with help from Mike, is able to show that Dr. Kilpatrick has made statements in the past which totally contradict the statements she has made in court. In the end, the judge in the summing up describes her as a nothing more than an opinion for hire and suggests that the jury should ignore her evidence.

The jury convicts Mayers, and he is remanded in custody for sentencing, with the advice that he will be getting a long custodial sentence. Beryl addresses the press outside the court saying that by discounting Dr. Kilpatrick’s evidence, the judge had caused a miscarriage of justice. As Beryl is saying this, Johnny appears holding a USB stick which he says has Beryl’s emails on it, showing she knew about Mayers and knew he was guilty. The press want the stick but Beryl grabs it. Johnny says that is not a problem as he has plenty more, which he hands out to the press. The police take one and then promptly try to arrest Johnny under the Computer Misuse Act, but Bernard intervenes.

At Bernard’s office, Johnny admits that the previous Saturday, when he had told his father that he was going to a party at Neal’s, he had actually gone to his mother’s house. When the police say that would be unlawful entry, Johnny points out that (a) he has a key and (b) his mother is still claiming child benefits for him from that address, so he has a perfect right to be there. Johnny also says that he copied the emails from the computer in the house that is used as a server. The police again want to arrest him under the Computer Misuse Act, but he is able to show that the computer in question is actually his property, so he had a perfect right to read anything that was on it.

The next morning, the police arrive at the Priory to inform Mike that Beryl has been shot dead. It turns out that she had left a package of papers to be delivered to Bernard, which included a new will. From the papers, Bernard is able to establish that Beryl was intending to flee the country.

Johnny is able to tell the police that there is a hidden CCTV recorder in the attic of the house. The one that had been removed from the premises was a sacrificial-goat system, with the main recorder being hidden. There is also a system that records all phone calls. From this, the police are able to identify and arrest the killers.

Among the papers that Bernard gets is the key to a safe deposit box in which he finds allocated certificates of deposit for 700 standard size 12.4-kilo gold ingots. There is also an insurance policy on Beryl for £20 million, together with a number of properties. All of which goes to Johnny.

Mike has become concerned about Bernard’s drinking. When he confronts Bernard about it, Bernard reveals that he has colon cancer. It was discovered as a result of a scan that was done after he was in a car crash. Bernard has to go into hospital in the new year for major surgery. Martin will be taking over managing Bernard’s clients whilst Bernard is in hospital. As a result, Martin will be handling the defamation cases.

At college, Johnny has befriended a couple of gay horticultural students, Steven and Jim. Both of them work part-time in the nursery run by Steven’s parents. When Steven’s parents find out his is gay, they throw him out. He ends up sleeping on the sofa at Jim’s parents. Jim only has a single bed in his room. Johnny persuades Mike to let Steven have the use of one of the unused studio apartments until such time as the holiday season starts and then use the Anne’s caravan once winter is over until the boys can sort something out. Mike comes to a deal with them by which they take over the walled garden to turn it into a nursery. As part of the deal they also get the derelict gardener’s cottage at the back of the walled garden. Jim’s father runs a small building company and Jim has trained as a builder, so they are able to make the cottage habitable.

In the past, Christmas has always been an event when Mike and Anne had gone to Manston to be with Phil and Ben. They would be joined therethere by Phil’s parents and Bernard’s family. This year, however, Manston is undergoing some urgent repair work, so Mike and Anne agree to hold the Christmas celebrations at the Priory.

On the Friday before Christmas, Lee is released. He meets Mike and Johnny in Maldon. On the way to the Priory, Lee informs Mike that they are being followed. Mike calls Miss Jenkins. A few days later when they go to an auction in Southmead, the car belonging to the people who had been watching them catches fire.

Christmas is a success. A few days after Christmas, The Sentinel a right-wing tabloid paper publishes an article revealing Trevor’s past in child pornography. The article does not name him, but there is little doubt about who it refers to. Phil and Ben call Trevor over to the house to tell him about the article. When Tariq, JayDee and Lee are in the yard shooting hoops. JayDee asks Trevor says that he will then goes over to the house. In the house, Ben shows Trevor the article. Trevor reads it and says he had better go and tell Arthur about it. As he crosses the yard back to the Stable House, JayDee reminds him about shooting hoops with them.

Johnny, who has been down at the walled garden talking with Steven and Jim comes in and mentions that Arthur is out on a support call. Just then they hear the alarm bell of the Stable House ringing. Everybody rushes across the yard to the Stable House to find Lee supporting Trevor’s body. Trevor has tried to hang himself. They cut Trevor down and Johnny starts to give mouth to mouth resuscitation whilst James performs CPR.

That is the end of Book One.