Two female detectives form an uneasy partnership in the grim back streets of Manchester.
DC Rachel Bailey is thrilled when golden girl DCI Gill Murray invites her to join an elite unit for major crimes. However, the street-wise Bailey is less pleased with her partner, middle-class DC Janet Scott, especially since Scott doesn’t hesitate to put Bailey in her place when they investigate the murder of Lisa Finn. The more the detectives question the people who knew the young victim—the boyfriend who got her back onto drugs, the alcoholic mother who gave her up to foster care, the social workers who tried to help her, the cab driver who saw her last—the more perplexing the case becomes. Determined to prove herself and unwilling to risk Scott’s criticism, Bailey goes maverick and, though she puts the case and herself at serious risk, finds an important clue from Lisa’s past. Bailey, Scott and Murray all have their own pasts, which affect their judgments and make them more human—but also put the brakes on the pace. A grudging trust between Bailey and Scott provides a stronger payoff for the tale than the solution of the mystery.
Staincliffe (Crying Out Loud, 2011, etc.) devotes nearly as much attention to her three leads’ struggles with their personal lives as she does to the procedural itself. Sympathetic though they are, one keeps wanting them to stop agonizing and just get on with the case.