A Cornish cliff walk involves some impromptu investigators in a life-and-death situation.
Aunt Nell (née Eleanor Trewynn), her dog Teazle, her niece DS Megan Pencarrow and their artist friend Nick Gresham have taken advantage of a lovely day to walk near a rocky beach when they spot a body floating in the water. Nell goes for help while Megan and Nick struggle to get the barely living man out of the water. Unexpected help arrives in the form of young hikers Chaz and Julia. The half-drowned Indian just manages to tell Megan that his family is trapped in a cave before he passes out and is sent off to the hospital. Nell, who lived in many remote areas before retiring, guesses that the family must be refugees from East Africa. Most Indians who lived there are being turfed out in an Africanization plan. Despite carrying British passports, they’ve been refused entry to Britain. A desperate search is launched to discover which of the many caves in the area is hiding the family, who seem to have been smuggled in and then left to die. Aunt Nell’s charity work in the area gives her an in with so many locals that she manages to learn about several possibilities, and Megan’s boss, DI Scumble, is so determined to catch the smugglers that he grudgingly accepts Nell’s help. As it turns out, the things they learn put them in danger that they can’t foresee.
Dunn’s third Cornish adventure (Manna From Hades, 2009, etc.) offers strong female characters, a double helping of tension and the revival of some largely forgotten history.