Thomas Lynley, formerly acting superintendent of New Scotland Yard, returns to his Cornish roots to grieve for his wife Helen and finds a body.
Resolutely tramping the seaside cliffs of Cornwall to come to terms with the murder of his pregnant wife (With No One as Witness, 2005), Lynley spies a fallen rock-climber and heads for the nearest cottage to call in his discovery. The cottage belongs to veterinarian Daidre Trahair, who claims not to recognize the victim. She’s lying, of course, but Lynley doesn’t relay this information to DI Bea Hannaford, now in charge of the case. Instead he calls his former partner, Barbara Havers, and asks her to check out Trahair’s background. Havers, under orders from the Yard to help the understaffed Hannaford and nudge Lynley toward returning, heads for Cornwall, where there’s no shortage of suspects as to who cut Santo Kerne’s climbing gear: discarded lovers, disappointed fathers, surfing experts, long-ago school chums and a demented mum. Every one of them has a secret worth lying to protect, including familial circumstances far more lowly than Lynley’s patrician background.
As you’d expect from George, a windy exploration of angst, grief and the feelings that pass for love. Much surfing and rock-climbing, but also many wretchedly oblique confrontations and overwrought similes. Even so, it’s nice to have Lynley back.