“What the %!%!?” she yelped in reaction to the instant stab of pain, but by the time her hand recoiled from the radio dial it was over – the small syringe was empty. With the question barely begun her young life was almost at an end. She crumpled into her seat, unable to giggle another word.

”The lights changed to green and I drove ahead to the first roundabout. We went all the way around so that I could retrace our journey back to the Hanbury Road, where her ‘Last Orders’ at the Barley Mow had been exactly that. Once under the M5 it was only a dozen yards to the mini-roundabout from where the right turn winds its way towards the relatively isolated hamlet of Hadzor.

”Thirty seconds up the narrow and secluded lane it doglegged abruptly to the left, a little further and we were alongside woodland. I stopped without leaving the hard surface of the narrow road; headlights became sidelights and I leant across her to open the passenger door.

”She wasn’t noticeably breathing and surprisingly little effort was necessary to push the slight frame of her upper torso out onto the verge; legs following with one further gentle shove. In the still of the night this was a terminal hangover that couldn’t be slept off in the undergrowth of a roadside verge…”

So begins Youthenasia, a novel about serial killings of teenagers, set in Droitwich. Written in 2002 by Spa resident Duncan Peberdy, and formerly titled Out Of Control, it’s also a cunning 1980s pop quiz with 85 top 20 song titles hidden in plain view.

In 2020, Duncan also published Keep Calm and Carry on Complaining, featuring examples of how to deal with awful customer service, including one experience from the Chateau Impney (see ‘buildings’). He is currently working on a new novel based around a Covid-19 murder, which is again mostly set in Droitwich.

For Youthenasia, click here

For Keep Calm and Carry On Complaining, with 20% off for Ooh Aah Droitwich Spa readers, click here