A withdrawn, unlovely young woman teams up with a former Glasgow copper–turned–private eye to find out what’s become of her sister, who disappeared from the family home 57 days ago.
Sophie McCulloch is one of the few people on Earth her sister Elvira’s ever felt close to. As Elvie puts it: “Soph loves company whereas I don’t see the point of other people.” But since her alcoholic mother, Nancy, and her psychotic kid brother, Grant, are no help, Elvie’s forced to reach out when Sophie never returns from her evening run. What she finds is anything but reassuring. A number of women have gone missing from Eaglesham, and Elvie’s on hand to see the body of one of them, Lorna Lennox, removed from the car windshield she fell onto. Sophie’s rumored lover, Mark Laidlaw, has vanished as completely as she has. The Find Sophie Campaign started by Rod Banks, Nancy’s boyfriend, turns up nothing but false leads. So Elvie allows herself to be drawn into an uneasy partnership with Billy Hopkirk, the former DCI who took to drink and got booted off the force after he failed to solve the mystery of Gillian Porter’s disappearance, which so eerily prefigured Sophie’s. Elvie, who’s never told anyone that Sophie had planned to escape from Eaglesham, is painfully torn about helping out, and the gruesome revelations that follow do nothing to give her peace.
Ramsay (The Blood of Crows, 2012, etc.) piles on the physical horrors, the psychological torments and, regrettably, the number of malefactors working independently and often at cross-purposes to bump up the number of missing persons. Those Scottish villages are the worst.