Wiki - Dorset Crime Book 1 - The Corfe Castle Murders


The Corfe Castle Murders follows Detective Chief Inspector Lesley Clarke as she navigates her personal and professional life after relocating to Dorset. The novel intertwines the investigation of multiple murders at an archaeological dig site near Corfe Castle with Lesley's adjustment to her new surroundings and the unraveling of her predecessor DCI Mackie's mysterious death.

The Crime:

The novel revolves around the murders of two archaeologists, Archie Weatherton and Laila Ford. Archie, a researcher from Bristol University, is found dead at a dig site, with initial suspicions pointing towards his complex relationships with team members. Shortly after, Laila, his young lover, also becomes a victim. Lesley and her team uncover clues including an early medieval axe and financial discrepancies involving Crystal Spiers, the dig project manager. The discovery of these clues leads to multiple interviews and unravels a web of deceit, embezzlement, and rivalry among the archaeologists. The DNA evidence ultimately reveals Crystal Spiers as the murderer.

Sub Plots:

Lesley's Relocation to Dorset:

Lesley struggles to adjust to her new role in Dorset while dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic incident in Birmingham. Her transfer aims to offer respite but introduces new personal and professional challenges.

Archie's Secret Life:

Archie’s affairs and financial troubles come to the forefront as Lesley investigates his past. His relationships with younger women, his marital infidelity, and the financial strain on the project reveal motives for his murder.

Laila's Background:

Laila, who lied about her age and qualifications, becomes a focal point in the investigation. Her tumultuous relationship with Archie and Patrick Donnelly, who previously assaulted her, adds layers of complexity to her murder investigation.

Relationship Development:

  • Lesley and Dennis: Lesley and Dennis initially clash due to differing methods and Dennis’s conservative attitude. Over time, Dennis acknowledges Lesley's leadership, especially following the resolution of critical case developments.
  • Lesley and PC Abbott: Lesley's faith in PC Abbott grows after the latter discovers crucial evidence despite an unauthorized search. Lesley ultimately considers integrating Abbott more closely into her team.
  • Lesley and Elsa Short: Lesley meets Elsa, a bartender and lawyer, during her visits to the local pub. Their conversations offer Lesley emotional comfort amidst her professional turmoil, hinting at a potential romantic interest.
  • Susan and Tony Goodall: Susan, grappling with her husband Archie's infidelity and death, deepens her relationship with Tony Goodall. Tony, a detective, provides personal and professional support, complicating the investigation due to their connection.

    DCI Mackie Investigation:

    Lesley dedicates significant effort to unearthing the truth behind DCI Mackie's death. Initially deemed a suicide, Lesley suspects foul play after receiving information from her contact, Zoe. Carpenter, her superior, remains skeptical but concerned about the implications for their team. Lesley learns that Mackie faced considerable pressure and conspiracies before his death. Her probe signals potential risks and entrenched corruption within the police force. As Lesley continues to dig deeper, she uncovers pivotal connections and inconsistencies, suggesting Mackie’s death involved more sinister elements than originally believed.

    DCI Lesley Clarke


    Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Lesley Clarke is a central character in the "Dorset Crime" series by Rachel McLean. Known for her sharp investigative skills and unyielding determination, she serves as the cornerstone of the Major Crime Investigations Team (MCIT) in Dorset. Lesley's relentless pursuit of justice and personal resilience craft a compelling narrative that defines the series.


    Lesley Clarke stands out as a detective who merges keen analytical abilities with a deep commitment to her work. Her experience from the high-stakes environment of the West Midlands to the seemingly serene yet complicated setting of Dorset showcases her adaptability and expertise. Balancing professional challenges with tumultuous personal issues, Lesley exemplifies the complexities of modern law enforcement.


    Born in Birmingham, Lesley grew up in a bustling urban environment that shaped her resilient and determined nature. She pursued a bachelor's degree in Criminology from the University of Birmingham, setting the foundation for her career in law enforcement. Lesley's impressive track record in high-profile cases within the West Midlands Police force propelled her rise to Detective Chief Inspector and earned her respect among her peers. Amid her professional successes, she navigates personal challenges, including a strained marriage with her husband Terry and the responsibility of raising her daughter Sharon.

    Role in this Story

    In the Dorset Crime series, Lesley Clarke leads the investigation into the murders of Archie Weatherton and Laila Ford, two gripping cases that unveil the darker facets of rural Dorset. Her arrival in Dorset tests her investigative prowess and leadership skills against local skepticism and internal team dynamics. Despite resistance from traditionalist colleagues like DS Dennis Frampton, she methodically uncovers hidden motives and secrets, ensuring every lead is pursued.

    Lesley's strategic mind and unwavering focus on the truth drive the narrative forward. She balances the pressure of solving these complex cases with the emotional toll of her personal life—including recovering from a traumatic head injury and dealing with the fallout of her crumbling marriage. Lesley's interactions with her team, her daughter Sharon, and other key characters reflect her multifaceted personality, making her a richly developed protagonist in the series.

    Basic Details

    • Name: Lesley Clarke
    • Age: 46
    • Place of Birth: Birmingham, England
    • Current Residence: Wareham, Dorset
    • Nationality: British
    • Education Level: Bachelor's Degree in Criminology
    • Occupation: Detective Chief Inspector
    • Income Level: Mid-to-high range for a senior police officer
    • Relationship Status: Separated
    • Car they drive: Not specified, uses police vehicles

    Physical Attributes

    • Height: 5'7"
    • Weight: 140 lbs
    • Build: Athletic
    • Skin Colour: Fair
    • Eye Colour: Green
    • Hair Colour: Brown
    • Face Shape: Oval
    • Distinguishing Marks: Scar from a recent bomb attack
    • Physical Ailments or Injuries: Recovering from a head injury and PTSD related to a bomb explosion

    DS Dennis Frampton


    Detective Sergeant (DS) Dennis Frampton is a prominent character in the Dorset Crime series by [Author]. As a seasoned and meticulous officer within the Dorset Police force, Dennis brings a wealth of experience and a traditionalist approach to law enforcement. His character adds depth and a contrasting perspective to the investigations led by his superiors.


    Dennis Frampton exemplifies the principles of traditional policing with his methodical and often cautious approach to investigations. Over the years, he has earned respect for his unwavering dedication to the job and his meticulous attention to detail. Dennis often serves as a counterbalance to more progressive methods, bringing a pragmatic and grounded perspective to the team's dynamic.


    Born and raised in Dorset, Dennis has deep roots in the local community. He holds a diploma in Police Studies from a nearby college, which laid the foundation for his long career in law enforcement. Dennis's steadfast work ethic and commitment have seen him through various roles, ultimately earning the rank of Detective Sergeant. His career has been marked by steady service, earning him trust and respect among his colleagues and the community.

    Role in this Story

    In "DC Story Bible," DS Dennis Frampton plays a crucial role in the investigation of the murders of Archie Weatherton and Laila Ford. His conservative approach often contrasts sharply with the methods of DCI Lesley Clarke, leading to frequent clashes but also productive dialogue. Dennis's skepticism and insistence on following protocol ensure that no detail is overlooked. Despite his reservations about new methods and his occasional tension with superiors, his contributions are vital to the investigative process. Dennis provides a necessary balance, ensuring thoroughness and adherence to established procedures throughout the complex investigations.

    Basic Details
    • Name: Dennis Frampton
    • Age: 52
    • Place of Birth: Dorset, England
    • Current Residence: Corfe Castle, Dorset
    • Nationality: British
    • Education Level: Diploma in Police Studies
    • Occupation: Detective Sergeant
    • Income Level: Mid-range for a senior police officer
    • Relationship Status: Married
    • Car they drive: Ford Mondeo
    Physical Attributes
    • Height: 6'0"
    • Weight: 180 lbs
    • Build: Stocky
    • Skin Colour: Fair
    • Eye Colour: Blue
    • Hair Colour: Graying Brown
    • Face Shape: Square
    • Distinguishing Marks: None specified
    • Physical Ailments or Injuries: None specified