An insurance agent with a penchant for blondes offers a peculiar puzzle for DC Gary Goodhew (The Siren, 2010, etc.).
The Cambridge CID has its problems. DC Michael Kincaide is jealous of Gary Goodhew, who enjoys both unexplained wealth and the favor of their boss, DI Marks. Kincaide would love to undermine his rival’s search for the missing Kaye Whiting, who never showed up at her grandmother’s birthday party. But arresting her uncle, Andrew Burrows, for her murder when Kaye inevitably turns up dead is a nonstarter. Goodhew has his own theory, based on an anonymous call advising the police to look at Peter Walsh, who works for Dunwold Insurance. What to look at is the question. Walsh seems to have had a string of unsuccessful relationships with women, including needy Paulette, receptionist Donna and real estate agent Fiona, all of whom look just a little bit like slender, blonde Kaye. The bond between the dead woman and Walsh’s live lovers eludes Goodhew until WPC Sue Gully helps him link the crime to a string of bodies found, like Kaye’s, bound and gagged in the open air—and until he connects a waiflike figure he sees outside Walsh’s house to a mysterious blonde who drinks coffee day after day at The Flying Pig.
The third of Goodhew’s adventures to be published was actually written first, and bears all the false starts and loose ends of a trial run.