Unwelcome discoveries about a friend’s past force her two closest companions to dig up details in order to protect her from things they don’t know.
Since trauma in her early life has left her a loner, Anna Hopkins is surprised to find herself content with her job at Oxford’s Walsingham College and her small group of friends. Many of the changes in Anna’s life stem from her decision to adopt Bonnie, a striking white shepherd who forces her into daily walks in the park and led to her befriending two other women walking dogs, Tansy and Isadora. Together, the three of them, along with their canine companions, pieced together the details of a murder (The White Shepherd, 2015, etc). Since then, Anna has settled into a more social routine, taking on Tansy as a roommate and becoming closer to Jake, Bonnie’s original owner, despite his residence in America. Tansy has made changes too, seeking to make peace with her father and dating sweet if by-the-book Liam, an officer with the local police. Isadora, older than the other two friends, has always seemed strong and worldly, but an attack on a professor at Oxford changes all of that. Now Anna and Tansy must try to assemble pieces of a reluctant Isadora’s story, which starts in the Cold War era with a group of college student spies known as the Oxford Six. Getting Isadora to come clean about the past might keep the three of them safe from a potential attack themselves—if only Isadora would oblige.
Dalton’s warmth may mislead readers into thinking people who are attacked always recover (they don’t). But even if her single-story risks sometimes falter, her long-term-plot risks pay off.