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Mystery drama

Mystery drama

Deficit of Diligence   Mike Stanhope Mysteries 2

When journalist and would-be novelist Mike Stanhope learns he’s inherited a house in northern England from someone he’s never heard of, he willingly accepts an assignment that will take him to the area and allow him to investigate. Who was the mysterious benefactor, and how did she know him? On the alert for clues, he thinks he’s found one in the chance sighting of a young woman in an ancient film.

However, Mike soon has more urgent concerns. The finances of the company he’s been sent to visit don’t stack up, and the owner’s daughter is a little too friendly. People at the company are wary of him, and he can’t decide who to trust. An ill-judged article puts his work on the line, and a misunderstanding throws his relationship with his girlfriend into doubt. Suddenly his world is crumbling around him.

Mike is convinced he can get his life back on track by finding out the truth about the troubled company, but it’s a road fraught with danger. As the mystery deepens and the pace gathers, he finds himself embroiled in a kidnapping and at odds with the police, while at the same time confronting people who will apparently stop at nothing to prevent him from interfering.

Due diligence: commercial or personal?

Technically, “due diligence” is the term used to describe the process of scrutiny applied to corporate transactions to make sure they’re based on sound assumptions. Informally, the phrase also refers to the kind of precautions that wise people take throughout their everyday lives. In Deficit of Diligence, they’re both conspicuously lacking. 

The northern connection

The action in Deficit of Diligence ranges from Britain’s West Country to various towns and cities in northern England – notably Newcastle upon Tyne, where author Peter Rowlands was born.


Deficit of Diligence is the second novel in the series about Mike Stanhope, the journalist who can’t resist an investigative challenge. If you haven’t read Alternative Outcome, you might want to start there.

Mike Stanhope is back!

All Mike Stanhope wants is to lead a fulfilling life. He yearns to become a novelist, and in the first book in this series, Alternative Outcome, he publishes an online thriller. He soon realises this is not the fast route to fame and fortune, though it certainly results in some unintended consequences.

As Deficit of Diligence starts, Mike is six months into his new relationship with Ashley, the girl he met in the first book. He still can’t believe his good fortune, yet apparently he can’t stop himself putting it all at risk.

Mike’s problem is that he’s restless – attracted by the security of a steady job, but reluctant to drop his journlism for good. A simple assignment forces him to reconsider his priorities, and exposes some of the flaws in his character – but also gives him the opportunity to find strengths he never knew he had.

Reading group discussion topics here.


© Peter Rowlands 2021





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