This is a long book. George takes her time with the set up. It pays off though. Before long, the story becomes deeply engrossing. This time, we’re in Ludlow, in Shropshire. Detectives from New Scotland Yard are sent up to check on an investigation into the suicide while in custody of a church deacon. The deacon’s father packs clout. He’s denying that his son was a paedophile, or a suicide. The investigators’ only mission is to determine whether the investigation was handled correctly.
Of course, things go awry. DCI Isabelle Audery has a drinking problem. DS Barbara Havers is there to put her feet wrong so they can transfer her away from the Met. Havers starts to uncover things. Audery insists that Havers leave some information out of the report. Hmm. DI Thomas Linley is sent back there with Havers (who is desperately wanting to avoid her tap dancing show - don’t ask). We’re introduced to a fascinating set of characters whose psychology George portrays brilliantly. They range from the savvy septuagenarian, to the drunken students, to the classy senior policewoman (who’s good at sex games), to the Indian paediatrician cut off from her family to the PCSO who might not be as clean and affable as he seems. There are more. It becomes very convoluted as Linley and Havers disentangle a sad sequence of events. Justice is finally achieved, of course, but not without a great deal of toing and froing. Meanwhile, there’s pressure to get results fast and keep the MP and Home Secretary happy. Audery’s drinking gets worse. Her ex wants to take their sons to New Zealand. The classy senior policewoman is set upon directing and preserving her son’s life, even though she suspects him of rape.
It’s as though George has written three books in one, so dense is the material. The psychology between the classy policewoman and her husband is particularly good, as is everything to do with the Lomax family (which contains the savvy septuagenarian and the Indian paediatrician). The clues are well-sorted, though they should have established just when the CCTV angle was changed and what the duty log showed, for comparison. The stuff about the stole colours was good. Just shows you need to know everything when you try to solve a crime. Including how to launch an air glider. As usual with a Linley book, it’s incredible that an American can write so well about England. The sad fact of defunding the police (like the NHS) doesn’t go unnoticed. Begone, civil society!
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