A forensic archaeologist, a policeman and a druid pool their skills to find a murderer.
Ruth Galloway’s quiet routine of teaching and raising her daughter Kate, the fruit of her short affair with DCI Harry Nelson, is interrupted by the shocking news of her university friend Dan Golding’s death. A posthumous letter from Dan asking her to examine the bones of an exciting discovery he has made and hinting at unnamed problems prompts Ruth (The House at Sea’s End, 2012, etc.) to ask Nelson to inquire more closely into the case. It turns out that Dan’s laptop and cellphone are missing, and the police are already treating his death as suspicious. When someone from Dan’s university asks her to look at the bones, Ruth, Kate and her druid friend Cathbad all head to a rented cottage in the north of England, where Nelson is visiting his mom in Blackpool. Cathbad’s local druid friend, Pendragon, greets them with a gun and a tale of fear, possibly of the White Hand, the right-wing group terrorizing the university campus. The bones, which Dan was sure were those of King Arthur, have mysteriously vanished. All that remain are some samples Dan had sent to a lab in the States. When these samples indicate that King Arthur was part black, Kate and the police both look to the mysterious White Hand for answers.
Another gem packed with offbeat, well-developed characters and a quirky, challenging mystery.