An auction-house porter reeling from his half-brother’s near-death is captivated by a mysterious model probing the murder of her twin sister.
Sandy Craddock, Alicia Laing’s son without benefit of marriage, is sure that the cyclist who ran down Warren Laing, Alicia’s legitimate second child, was aiming for him. So when Sandy’s boss, auctioneer Charles Hennigan, misidentifies the hospitalized, heavily bandaged Laing as Craddock, the aspiring antiquarian doesn’t set the record straight. Instead, he lies doggo in Warren’s posh flat until Fiona Morgan, who says she’s an acquaintance, turns up at Sandy’s side in Warren’s bed. Fiona marvels at Sandy’s indifference to his brother’s injury. After all, she’s still mourning the loss of her sister Martine, who drowned a year earlier in Cyprus when her car rolled off an embankment. She invites him to a weeklong art course, where Sandy is surprised to discover that Fiona is the nude figure model. But his jealousy over the eyes on Fiona’s shapely form is the least of Sandy’s problems. His boisterous easel partner, Rosa Burford, turns up with a knife in her back. Sandy and Fiona spirit her corpse out of the residence hall and dump it by her car, only to have it disappear the next day. Once Rosa’s disappearance registers on her classmates, Superintendent Mike Yeadings’s Thames Valley squad, fresh from investigating the disappearance of three-year-old Jilly Bell, is all over the case.
Yeadings (The Glass Wall, 2007, etc.) hangs back and lets his varied and able underlings share the glory in this nifty ensemble piece.