A Home Office pathologist continues to expand the boundaries of his practice in postwar Wales.
Richard Pryor and his forensic biologist partner Angela Bray (According to the Evidence, 2011, etc.) are growing the practice they started in the Wye Valley after his return from Singapore in 1955. During the weeks Angela spends tending to her sick mother, Richard is joined by Priscilla Chambers, whose passion for anthropology is put to use by the case of the possible ancient bog body. When the body is dug out of the bog, hands tied and headless, they quickly realize that this is a much more recent case of murder. Their only clue is a Batman tattoo. While the police are busy trying to establish the identity of the dead man, the group gets another interesting case. They are called in to review the evidence and possibly testify at the appeal of a woman serving a life sentence for murder on slim evidence. A doctor has testified that the crime was committed within a very short time period, the only interval that evening when the woman had no alibi. The police get a break on Richard’s first case when they hunt down a head a Birmingham gangster has used as a warning to those who might be tempted to cross him, and Richard identifies the head as belonging to the body in the bog. But he is less successful in the other case, which brings him up against the hidebound traditions of British justice.
No thrills or chills here, but a solid look at the pathologist’s work along with evocative period details of a country slowly recovering from war.