Davis kicks it up a notch as even-tempered DI Keith Tyrell (A Fine and Private Place, 2001) gets walloped from all sides by villainy from without and treachery from within.
It’s bad enough that the bodies of young blonds keep washing up from the rivers that flow through the Forest of Dean. First is Julie Parry, who lived quietly in Murren Terrace with her grandmother; then come teenaged Tina Halliwell, hard-bitten Shelley Watts, and finally Fay Ryder, who went out with friends one evening and never returned home. It’s still worse when Mandy Stone’s two hellions, trying to dam a local stream, dig up the skeleton of an infant, buried no one knows how long ago. But worst of all is the constant abuse Tyrell endures at the hands of his superior, DCI Richard Whittaker: the insults, the accusations of incompetence, the changing assignments that sorely try the saintly sleuth even as he responds calmly and patiently (as his clinical psychologist wife, the beautiful Jenny, has taught him) to his chief’s never-ending gibes. Even the loyalty of DS Brian Clarke, the respect of DC Mickey Walsh, and the quiet support of WPC Rose Walker can’t help their mentor when the mischief Whittaker sets in motion threatens both Tyrell’s career and the case he’s built so carefully against a cold-blooded killer.
Tyrell’s monumental forbearance with his monstrous superior strains the credibility of this well-plotted and solidly executed procedural.