The 29th appearance of Harpur and Iles, Britain’s most irresistible duo since crumpets were first paired with tea.
Tom Parry isn’t really Tom Parry, thug, lowlife and drug-lord wannabe. Tom Parry is actually Tom Mallen, happily married father of two, a police sergeant doing undercover work to ferret out bad guys. His infiltration into Leo Percival Young’s gang seems to be going well. Leo trusts him enough to send him along with three others to kill Justin Scray, #3 man in the gang hierarchy, who’s been pilfering drugs, clients and funds for his own use. But when Tom, not Scray, winds up dead, the Home Office decides not only that Tom was set up to die, but that his assassin was someone from his precinct. Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur and his boss, Assistant Chief Constable Desmond Iles, are called in to investigate. As they study witness interviews, a gang member’s taped confession, surveillance footage and autopsy notes, Harpur doggedly keeps at it while trying to ignore the slurs heaped on him by Iles, who will never forgive him for sleeping with his wife. It turns out that Tom’s against-regulations birthday visit to his son, as well as the uncooperativeness of various enforcement agencies, all contributed to his downfall. These revelations cause Harpur to consider the investigation a failure and Iles, typically, to accept kudos for the completion of it.
Nobody demonstrates the similarity between criminal reasoning and cop reasoning better than James (Vacuum, 2011, etc.).