The third kidnapping of a young London girl blows the case into a dark new dimension for Chief Inspector David Brock and Sgt. Kathy Kolla.
There’s no question that Tracey Rudd’s gone missing, but her abduction doesn’t seem to fit the pattern established by the first two snatches. At six, she’s younger than Aimee Prentice and Lee Hammond, and the signs of forced entry into her Shoreditch flat are faint. The main difference, though, is her flamboyant artist father, who’s been battling his in-laws over Tracey’s living arrangements ever since her mother killed herself five years ago. Gabriel Rudd rode his wife’s suicide to art-world fame, and now he plans to do the same with his daughter’s disappearance. Pressed by rapacious dealer Fergus Tait, he announces the opening of an art exhibit called “No Trace,” a series of banners he’ll construct at the rate of one a day until Tracey is found. Eventually, he takes up residence in a glass box inside the gallery where “No Trace” is installed, communicating with the outside world only by computer. That’s probably just as well for him, for as Brock and Kolla (The Verge Practice, 2004, etc.) soon discover, the mortality rate among his friends and neighbors—drug-dealers, pedophiles, lunatics and worse—is about to soar.
Maitland, perhaps the most underrated writer currently working the whodunit field, puts it all together—a memorably twisty plot, cut-and-thrust interrogation, unsparing forensics, psychological penetration—in the complete mystery package.