Finding a connection between the recently deceased Josephine Short and a young woman found drowned is a thorny problem for DCI Sloan and his dense sidekick, Constable Crosby.
It all begins when Jan Wakefield is forced to make funeral arrangements for her husband’s great-aunt Josephine, a lady they had no idea was in a nursing home near them. With her husband Bill out of the country for a few days, she follows the instructions left by Josephine and is surprised when a grandson, Joe Short, turns up at the funeral. In fact, there are a number of people she doesn’t know, including an unidentified auburn-haired young woman who’s promptly murdered. Joe, who’s just flown in from his overseas job, explains that his grandmother was an unmarried mother kicked out by her wealthy family, who tried but failed to cut her out of the family trust. Sloan ties himself in knots trying to find the connection he’s sure exists between Josephine and the murdered woman, who turns out to be a nurse. Meanwhile, Josephine’s room at the nursing home is searched; then her body is dug up and valuable rings ripped from her fingers. Research into past history and current alibis help lead Sloan to a clever killer.
The latest in Aird’s long string of slyly humorous mysteries featuring Sloan and Crosby (Losing Ground, 2010, etc.) is a classic English police procedural sure to delight her many fans.