Would a wife have the nerve to park her dead husband in the family car in their own driveway?
DC Sharon Mayfield notices a crowd collecting, stops to investigate and finds Claude Huddart badly mutilated in the driver’s seat of an old Citroën. Alice, his widow, has nothing helpful to say, and Sharon, mindful of her lowly status, reluctantly defers to CID higher-ups Stuart Rendale and Edward Phaeton—until Jeremy Nauton Dince sidles up, obliquely hints of dark secrets, then scurries off. When Sharon follows, she sees two men in a green Audi pull up to Dince, who gets in as the car pulls away. Was he coerced? Determined to discover what happened to her informant, Sharon makes the rounds of the local pubs and meets Ronald Desmond Blenny, who suggests that two drug lords were ganging up on a third, with Huddart brokering the new alliance. Why then is Phaeton tailing Sharon? Why is the widow making nice with Philip Otton, one of the drug lords? Is this a domestic murder or a turf war? A drug-squad mate of Sharon’s copper boyfriend Luke suggests there’s a dirty cop in the mix, but Sharon doesn’t back off until she finds another corpse, with herself a possible third.
A fine follow-up to Letters from Carthage (2007), with the usual Jamesian touches of wit, irony and misdirection, plus wickedly elliptical dialogue that raises to an art form the tactic of answering a question with another question.