Longborough private eye Kate Kinsella is astonished when the landlord’s dog she’s walking flushes a young woman from the river’s edge, but in a way it makes perfect sense, since suicidally depressed Megan Thomas is one of life’s discards, exploited for years by her invalid mother in North Wales, picked up by smooth-talking Michael Whitby on her first visit to London and now hunted by him after a pregnancy she can’t explain and a stillbirth delivery she can’t remember. When Megan adds that Whitby is a police inspector on the Horsefields Vice squad, Kate (Deadly Bond, 2002, etc.) knows she’s made a dangerous and resourceful enemy—one who’ll be just as quick to come after Kate once he realizes she’s rescued the bewildered waif. Can Kate put paid to Whitby’s vicious racket before he puts paid to her? In truth, she doesn’t shine as an investigator this time; the sequel to her session with Dr. Angela Lewis, Megan’s friend and protector back in her childhood home of Ciccieth, leaves Dr. Lewis shot dead and Whitby breathing down Kate’s neck. But she’ll do much better service as a nurse during a showdown at an isolated cluster of holiday cabins in Scotland—a landscape covered with snow, as Kate tartly observes, that’s lovely and useless as a Fabergé egg—and one she’s repaired to against the advice of her friend, Longborough Inspector David Todman, for reasons best known to herself.
Kate’s sixth is heartfelt and even heart-rending, though the mystery is as threadbare as an antique quilt.