Officials of the town of King’s Langley have their hands full with three tricky murders.
DCI Will Casey, whose birth name is Willow Tree, isn’t any more happy to get a call from his hippie parents, Moon and Star, than they are to tell him of two deaths at the ramshackle commune where they’ve lived for years. The first body was quietly buried, but when pregnant DaisyMay Smith is found beaten to death, they reluctantly ask for help. Will convinces them to inform the local police while he tries to run an investigation in the background without revealing his ties to the hippies, who aren’t eager to assist and whose memories are fuddled by cannabis. Happily living with a talented musician, he doesn’t want his parents’ lives to come to light and possibly ruin his career prospects. Luckily, his streetwise sergeant, informally known as ThomCatt, has someone on the local squad who can keep him plugged into the investigation. Meanwhile, a particularly nasty murder turns up on Will’s own patch when a philandering husband is found knifed, his penis stuffed in his mouth. Investigations disclose a long string of lovers, mostly married with jealous husbands, who may have wanted him dead. Plodding police work and the odd flash of inspiration finally solve both cases.
Casey and Catt (Up in Flames, 2004) headline another solid procedural leavened with a dash of quirky characters.