A new boss provides a unique challenge for DCI Neil Paget (In the Shadow of Evil, 2012, etc.).
It isn’t easy for Paget to work for his new detective superintendent. Not only did Amanda Pierce snag the job he expected, but, years back, she was married to Paget’s wife Jill’s brother—a union that led to his brother-in-law’s death and Jill’s subsequent suicide. Now, Pierce and Paget are both in the pressure cooker with a case that seems as unsolvable as it is bizarre. Billy Travis, a meek, middle-aged photographer, has been flung from a bridge to the railway tracks below. His battered corpse is found with the letter “A” carved into its forehead. No one can imagine who might have killed Billy, and no one saw nothing, no how. When the investigation stalls, Pierce asks Paget to back off, leaving the legwork to his sergeants, Molly Forsythe and John Tregalles. Although she’s preoccupied with the uncertainties of her relationship with David Chen, who’s gone back to Hong Kong to care for his teenage daughter Lijuan after his ex-wife’s death in an auto accident, Molly gives the case her all. But connecting the dots between the loner Travis and any other human being seems daunting. Even the appearance of a second body does little to move the case forward, frustrating both sergeants. Paget soon finds himself in the impossible position of not being able to investigate the case himself while having to prove that his history with Amanda isn’t the reason for the deadlock.
The complicated back story takes Paget’s 10th a step beyond a routine procedural.