Ever-curious, not to say downright nosy, interpreter Torrey Tunet (The Irish Manor House Murder, 2000, etc.) is between assignments, cozily at home in her rented cottage in the village of Ballynagh. But she’s upset when Dakin Cameron, the young carpenter her friend Winifred Moore sent her—and her rescuer in an earlier encounter with threatening teenagers—receives a phone call at Torrey’s cottage from an anonymous man seeking money from Dakin’s mother Natalie, the widowed owner of Sylvester Hall. The caller is threatening to reveal secrets concerning Dakin’s parentage and other events of years long past. Because Natalie has no memory of those events and no intention of playing blackmail, it looks like a standoff—until Thomas Brannigan, a former chauffeur at Sylvester Hall who’s been living in Montreal for decades, arrives in Ballynagh only to be attacked at the gates of the Hall and sent to the local hospital, where he lies near death. When the blackmailer, also from Montreal, is found fatally stabbed by a penknife traced to Natalie, she’s arrested for murder. Now Torrey goes to work, digging up evidence and eventually persuading Inspector O’Hare to gather in his office a clutch of suspects that includes the real killer.
Deere mercifully goes easy on her usual plethora of subplots. They barely slow the pace in this third adventure, adding some mildly distracting elements to a mix that’s not always convincing but manages to stay compelling to the finish.