Murderous intrigue creeps around the bedside of an elderly invalid.
Ever since she ran off as a pregnant 17-year-old, Emily Withers has had little to do with her family. Now nearly 94, her primary caregivers are her physician, Dr. Keith Stanford, and Alyson Orme, a great-niece tracked down by her solicitor, Timothy Fitt. When Alyson leaves Emily to go to her job as a hospital nurse, she’s replaced by nursing assistant Sheena Judd. One day, Sheena stops at the local pub and strikes up a conversation with Ramón Nadal, the Filipino bartender, and suddenly, startlingly, Ramón takes her place at Emily’s bedside. All seems to be well—after all, Sheena’s so lazy and listless that she’s not hard to replace—until Ramón, on his way to Emily’s, sees a body hurtling through her penthouse window and decides, quite logically, according to his lights, to conceal all signs of foul play. It sounds like a case for Supt. Mike Yeadings and DS Rosemary Zyczynski of the Thames Valley Major Crimes Squad. But they have their hands full trying to determine how Micky Kane, 13, landed in the hospital, stoked with angel dust, and what happened to him after he sneaked out. There’s a nasty surprise waiting for Dr. Stanford as well.
Miraculously, Yeadings and his sergeant (A Meeting of Minds, 2004, etc.) gather most of the tangled threads together in a wrap-up that’s a merciful release from the general glumness.