No one who knew Alan Wainwright, CEO of Wainwright Enterprises, the most important local business for at least three generations, quite understood his apparent suicide. But when Wainwright’s will unexpectedly splits his millions between his ne’er-do-well son Graham and his nephew Alexander, whom he had always despised, Graham and his equally disappointed relatives are convinced that someone—possibly family solicitor Jeremy Kemp, possibly Alexander or his new wife, the mysterious Sally—had something to do with his death. When Graham demands that the case be reopened, DCI Andrew Fenwick (Requiem Mass, not reviewed) is given one day to investigate and close the case for good. What he finds is a tangle of threads that are not what they seem, especially Wainwright Enterprises’s long history of profitability, the dark horse Alexander Wainwright, and the beautiful and compulsively frugal Sally. Fenwick can’t reopen the case, however, until Arthur Fish, the unprepossessing controller of Wainwright Enterprises, is stabbed coming home from his monthly “faculty meeting.” It turns out that the police have been the last entrants in the race to investigate Wainwright Enterprises: Fish had been subject to Alexander’s and Sally’s scrutiny of the business’s finances, and Graham has made Sally the object of his own private investigation. The deeper Fenwick and his beleaguered team dig, the more secrets they uncover, and the less likely it seems that justice will be done.
Corley delivers a dense police procedural that manages a sprawling cast and the interstices of a conspiratorial plot with finesse, even if the villain is no surprise.