A convict’s death triggers an ever-expanding investigation for DI Andy Horton (A Killing Coast, 2012, etc.) of the Portsmouth CID.
If she had her way, sour, temperamental DCI Bliss would tie up every minute of Horton’s time looking for the thieves who’ve been swiping metal plaques and fittings from all along the harbor. But DS Uckfield of the Major Crime Team outranks Bliss, and he wants Horton to help find whoever assaulted Daryl Woodley just months after his release from Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight. Or, who drove him out to the marshes after he checked out of the hospital three days later, leaving him to die there. Woodley is just a lowlife who’d spent his life in petty crime. But, he was in Parkhurst after attacking a fellow inmate in Swansea Prison, and Marty Stapleton is a big enough player to attract the attention of both British Intelligence and Interpol. They send, respectively, DCS Sawyer and a Dutch agent named Eames. Sawyer’s a pain, but Eames, a crack investigator, is a sexy British expat who makes Horton’s heart skip a beat. She helps with the house to house, accompanies Horton to Swansea and tracks down the mourners at Woodley’s funeral, as well as at old Amelia Willard’s, the same day. But one mourner—who shows up in photos in chic outfit and large-brimmed hat—is nowhere to be found until her body shows up on a salvage wreck in Tipner Quay. Eames is just as game as Horton at pressing the tough waterfront types for answers, even when a second body turns up lodged under the wreck. How to make the pieces scattered along the Solent—dead ex-con, missing mourners, elderly widow, ancient corpse—into a watertight case is a challenge for the new team.
Horton’s 10th is a treat for fans of the puzzle-box mystery.