A corpse left inside the walls of the ancient city of York sends DCI George Hennessey and his partner DS Yellich to investigate a rash of new killings and an unsolved crime.
Once Hennessey and Yellich (Treasure Trove, 2004, etc.) identify the body of Gary “Hammer” Sledge, 29, their course is clear: nose about the Tang Hall housing estate, where neighbors gladly offer up information. It isn’t long before they arrest fellow Tang Hallers Chris Kingston, Jeff Stafford and Sydney Burton. They don’t count on not-quite-all-there Burton’s admission that he saw someone named Pomfret shoot Gary after three days of starvation and torture. But before the police can question Ray Pomfret and his sidekick Ian Silcock, the two disappear. Silcock’s wife remembers that he left at the bidding of a mysterious Mr. Hollander—the same Hollander whom Gary’s girlfriend, Heather Lyall, implicates in the murder of Jane Seymour, a college student who accused him of sexual assault five years ago. With scant time out for Yellich to cuddle with his wife Sara, or Hennessey with forensic pathologist Louise D’Acre, the partners connect the dots to trap a cold-blooded killer.
Turnbull’s focus on his plodding detectives at the expense of livelier characters spoils what could have been a promising puzzle.