A series of murders in a rural area has the neighbors on edge.
When a housesitter is found dead in a ditch in the Valley Farm area, DI Vera Stanhope (Harbor Street, 2015, etc.), who lives nearby, is first on the scene. Patrick Randle had been watching the house and caring for the dogs of the Carswell family, who are visiting relatives in Australia. When the police check out Randle’s attic apartment, they find another body with no identification. Vera’s team of steady Joe Ashworth and ambitious Holly Clarke soon identify the second body as that of computer specialist Martin Benton. Randle was on a break from university, and Benton was just going off invalidity benefits, claiming he’d be self-employed. The only connection the team can find between the two men is that they were both interested in moths. A nearby barn and farmhouse conversion is home to three retired families: Nigel and Lorraine Lucas, whose stunningly modern place is a real status symbol; professor John O’Kane and his wife, Janet, a former social worker; and Sam and Annie Redhead, locals who owned a highly successful restaurant in nearby Kimmerston. Although they all appear to lead idyllic lives, background checks and local gossip reveal hidden secrets and problems. The Redheads’ daughter is in jail, and the lover and employer she robbed forced Sam and Annie to sell him their restaurant. Lorraine is hiding the return of breast cancer from Nigel, and Janet is getting fed up with her husband’s domineering ways. When a third murder follows, Vera and her team must dig deep into the past and present of all involved to find the reason three seemingly unconnected people were killed.
Characteristically well plotted, with plenty of complex characters to enjoy.