About Our Client, and Author John Caulfield


John Caulfield was born in May 1964 in Cape Town, South Africa. He completed his schooling at the South African College School and went on to study at the University of Cape Town where he obtained a degree in English as well as a post graduate degree in Law.

In 1989, he was admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa and, some years later, joined the Department of Justice where he prosecuted in a series of high profile criminal trials including Fraud, Armed Robbery, Rape and Murder.

Since moving to the United Kingdom, he has written two crime novels, both influenced by his experiences as a criminal lawyer in Cape Town. His first novel, The Atom Heart Murders, won a number of accolades, including a joint first prize in the UK magazine, Writers’ Forum.

Apart from writing, he loves music, mountains and the sea.


GENRE: Adult Fiction/Suspense Thriller


About the book:

 On a clear winter morning, after months recovering from near fatal injuries, Captain James Blake is discharged from a Cape Town hospital. In the shadow of Table Mountain, the city streets appear familiar yet dreamlike, as if Blake is viewing his post hospital world through a hazy and distorted looking glass. His mission is to trace his attackers, but Blake soon finds himself side-tracked by the cold blooded execution of a prominent Cape Town attorney. Against the backdrop of the new South Africa, with all its mystery, beauty and unfathomable contradictions, Blake plunges into a twilight world of inexplicable accidents, mail order brides, music, madness and murder. As the investigation races towards its climax, Blake’s sense of dissociation intensifies, and it becomes clear that he is struggling, not only to catch a killer, but also to reclaim his sanity, as well as his very life…


“Stay with this well-written story. It seems slow at the beginning but it really draws the reader in. The author creates a convincing atmosphere of the location of this book – South Africa. The mystery is centered around a series of deaths connected to members of a former rock band, and the outcome leaves the reader hanging to the very end.”
“If you like your prose lyrical, and a read that will stretch your mind – then this book has it all.”
“From page one we follow a man trying to glean some sense from the circumstances he’s been thrown into – a journey that is every bit as much outer, as it is inner. The world almost bending to the fabric of his perception.”


THE ATOM HEART MURDERS tells the chilling tale of Superintendant John Murdoch, second in command of the Serious Violence Unit of the South African Police Service, as he investigates a series of execution style killings in Cape Town.
After the discovery of the first victim, a young female advocate in the employ of the Director of Public Prosecutions, it seems apparent that the murder is related to the investigation of a notorious terrorist cell. But when a second body, that of a young prostitute, is found in a parking lot near Rhodes’ Memorial, the circumstances surrounding the killings begin to kindle sinister memories from Murdoch’s past, and it soon becomes clear that the murders are of a personal, rather than of a political nature.
Beneath the veneer of perfect blue skies and white sandy beaches, Murdoch descends into the dark and violent reality of the new South Africa. The past, however, hovers malignantly in the background, and Murdoch finds himself recalling a series of tragic incidents that occurred during his early teens, during the height of the apartheid era, while on a family holiday in Knysna. He remembers stumbling across their young coloured maid performing a sexual act on his middle-aged uncle, and how his subsequent desire to play the voyeur, may have led to the drowning of his two young cousins. Above all, Murdoch must gradually confront the recollection that his uncle had murdered the young maid to keep her from instituting a charge of rape.
When it is revealed that Murdoch, too, is under investigation, the reader begins to realise that he, the very narrator of the tale, may not be who, or even what, he seems.
In a series of twists, it is revealed that his cousins had not drowned, and that the young maid had not been murdered, but had merely been dismissed from the household, her silence secured by a handsome pay-out funded by his uncle and his father. Murdoch’s lifelong torment and hatred of his family, he discovers, had been the result of a tragic series of misunderstandings.
The present series of murders, Murdoch discovers, were committed by a man who had been falsely convicted of rape because of the suppression of evidence by the prosecution authorities. Past and present appear to blur and it is only in the closing lines of the final chapter that the whole truth – regarding both the plot and sub-plot – is finally revealed.

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