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by Fiona Barton

Pub Date: June 14th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-98480-304-7
Publisher: Berkley

The disappearance of a well-liked pensioner places all the other problems of the aspiring resort town of Ebbing in an unsettling new context.

Charlie Perry, whose ex-model wife, Pauline, talked him into buying the money pit Tall Trees, is worried because his expenses have left him deeply in debt to Wadham Manor, the posh care home where his daughter, Birdie Nightingale, has been housed ever since a botched burglary left her boyfriend dead and her blind and brain-damaged. Housecleaner Dee Eastwood is grieving the loss of her elder brother, Phil Golding, who was found dead in a park three weeks ago. Dave Harman, landlord of the Neptune pub, is angry that newcomer Pete Diamond is sponsoring a music festival that will bring all manner of riffraff into the quiet town. DI Elise King, still on sick leave after her cancer surgery, wonders when she’ll feel herself again. All these troubles get shunted aside when Pauline reports that Charlie’s gone missing. By the time Elise finds him dead, she’s already accepted retired librarian Ronnie Durrant’s invitation to poke around a little. Given what Elise has already discovered, it makes perfect sense for DCI Graham McBride to call her back to the Major Crime Team ahead of schedule and to appoint her senior investigating officer when DI Hugh Ward, the long-term live-in who dumped her, goes on sick leave after he’s dumped in turn by his fiancee. Barton presents such an embarrassment of riches that the tale has almost run its course before the coppers have a chance to sit down with Stuart Bennett, the just-freed burglar who attacked Birdie.

Layers and layers of unlovely revelations about people who seemed perfectly nice.