A Met officer loses her scull.
Becca Meredith could have been an Olympic contender in rowing before she snapped her wrist in an accident. Leaving the university, she eventually joined the Met and worked her way up the ranks to DCI, West London Major Crimes. Along the way she married, divorced, fell out with a uni friend who later joined the Met, began an affair with Kieran, an emotionally overwrought war veteran doing canine search-and-rescue work, and became known as rather solitary—and a bitch. When her body is found trapped in Thames weeds and her scull some distance away, it becomes apparent that she was rowing again, secretly training for another go at the Olympics, and that her death was no accident. The Yard’s Det. Supt. Duncan Kincaid is asked to investigate and concentrate on Becca’s ex, Freddie Atterton. Unwilling to focus his queries on Freddie alone, Kincaid—aided by colleagues Cullen and Bell, and with input from his wife, Det. Insp. Gemma James, now on leave to settle 3-year-old Charlotte into their household—uncovers a series of rapes that lead to a now retired Met bigwig. A petrol bomb is lobbed into Kieran’s boatshed and his rescue dog Finn goes ballistic at the scent of a former uni rower. Is Becca’s assailant one of these two men? More will die before matters are resolved and the beautiful scull hand-built for Becca can be taken out for a memorial row.
To the customary pleasures of the Kincaid/James ménage (Necessary as Blood, 2009, etc.), Crombie adds the interest generated by the history of the Henley Regatta pitting Oxford against Cambridge and the relationship between canine search-and-rescue handlers and their animals.