Fourteen years after Princess Diana died in a Paris automobile accident, the date of her death still casts a long shadow over the Strathclyde Police, in the fourth book featuring detective Alex Morrow.
Rose Wilson, already an experienced prostitute at 14, celebrates Diana’s death by killing two of the many males who’ve used her: Pinkie Brown, the boy she dreams about from another group home, and her pimp, Sammy McCaig. Despite her apathetic confession, she’s released after a short prison term to become the nanny to the household of Julius McMillan, the lawyer who schemed to shield her from a stiffer sentence for reasons of his own. The death of the long-ailing McMillan traumatically reopens his affairs. Rose, still in the family’s employ, grieves over the only person who’s ever shown her any kindness. McMillan’s son, Robert, convinced that paid assassins are hunting him, runs off and leases a castle to die in. And detective Alexandra “Alex” Morrow—after testifying against Michael Brown, who’s spent most of his life in prison ever since he was convicted of killing his older brother, Pinkie, in Rose’s place—has to deal with the discovery of Brown’s fingerprints at the demolition site where charitable organizer Aziz Balfour was killed three days ago, even though Brown, clapped up for months, has the best of all possible alibis. While fighting off the flirtatious advances of Brown’s defense attorney, Alex racks her brain over possible ways Brown could have left his prints at a murder scene miles from his prison, as Mina (Gods and Beasts, 2013, etc.), conscientious to a fault, casually dispenses further calamities, from clinical depression to Parkinson’s disease, among the cast.
In addition to the usual indelible character studies, Mina provides the most compelling plot of Alex’s four cases to date, with a new round of revelations that makes the Glasgow cops the most corrupt since Philip Marlowe looked under all those rocks in Bay City, Calif.