Photographer Luke Grant’s latest adventure begins with the disappearance of his great-granddaughter’s swain.
The morning after Roddy McWilliam doesn’t appear to help Violet Grant to a dose of what passes for nightlife in Newton Lauder, his mother turns up distraught at the doorstep of Whinmount. It’s been so long since Violet’s great-grandfather Luke (Hit and Run, 2008, etc.) gave Angela McWilliam a tumble that the only comfort he can offer her is to ask questions at Kempfield Centre, where Roddy works making furniture. Predictably, Timothy Buckley and Dr. Charles Hopgood, the Kempfield manager and treasurer who were the only employees still present when Roddy punched out the day before, can’t say where he went. But in short order Violet’s resourceful kid sister Jane can, since she and Circe, Luke’s Labrador, track him to a disused well, from which Jane and Luke’s romantic partner Helena Harper rescue him in the novel’s best sequence. No sooner is Roddy recuperating in the hospital than Buckley and Hopgood disappear, hardening Luke’s suspicions that Roddy’s accident involved foul play. Since the criminals are known, the mystery lies in figuring out what secret they were hiding and where they’ve gone to ground. Both questions lead to promising complications, but Luke’s detective work has little tension because veteran Hammond seems to be making it all up as he goes along.
Most likely to appeal to hardcore fans of Luke, who stoutly maintains that “when they were handing out geriatric impotence…they never came to me.”