During the Irish Troubles, a discouraged detective tackles a murder oddly similar to a past crime.
The excitement of meeting Muhammad Ali on his Belfast visit quickly fades for DI Sean Duffy. He’d thought he and his girlfriend were doing fine, but she’s determined to walk out on him, and he’s depressed to be left behind. He’s pushing 40, his career with the Royal Ulster Constabulary is stalled, and he has nothing to look forward to but checking for bombs under his car on his way to the Carrick station and pursuing a case of a missing wallet. But Duffy’s superiors want him to take the case seriously because the victim is a visiting Finnish businessman who can bring money and jobs to Northern Ireland. After privately writing off the robbery as a prank, Duffy meets Lily Bigelow, a young reporter from the Financial Times, who’s hoping for a few words about the case. Duffy’s hoping for a date with her, and his disappointment that she doesn’t take him up on it turns to shock when he sees her dead body in the courtyard of Carrickfergus Castle the next day. Lily had come for a tour and stayed behind when the caretaker locked up the castle for the night, and the only logical conclusions are that she jumped or the caretaker pushed her. Even though it seems impossible for anyone else to have entered the locked castle, neither Duffy nor his two junior colleagues are content to go with the obvious answers. And there's still the matter of Lily's missing journalist's notepad. When a violent murder turns the station upside down, Duffy can’t shake the feeling that it’s connected to Lily’s death, and he won’t give up the case, no matter how far it takes him or what the danger.
Duffy (Gun Street Girl, 2015, etc.) is taking no better care of himself than he ever did. But his copper’s instincts are as sharp as ever in this fifth installment.