Once again, DI Joseph Rafferty (Blood on the Bones, 2006, etc.) risks his job to protect a relative implicated in a murder.
Joe Rafferty’s carpenter brother Mickey hated Rufus Seward, a lifelong bully who tormented his schoolmates in ways they can only speak of in whispers even now. So Rafferty can’t understand why Mickey didn’t just tear up his invitation to the reception honoring Elmhurst’s rich native son, the way so many other prospective guests had done. If only he had, Rafferty wouldn’t be driving up and down the Essex coast in the pouring rain bringing hot Indian food to the miserable trailer where he stashed his younger brother after Seward is found stabbed with a wood chisel. He wouldn’t have to bear the wrath of his newly affianced girlfriend Abra, who resents his long hours away from home, or the searching looks from his straitlaced sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn, who knows something is up but isn’t sure what. Most importantly, he’d have more time to question Elmhurst’s Celtic-Asian mayor Idris Khan, his drug-addled wife Mandy, business bigwig Ivor Bignall, the shifty Farraday twins, Seward’s harried assistant Marcus Canthorpe—or any of the guests who actually might have treated the magnate to a much-deserved knife in the back.
Evans’s latest entry sits squarely in the Rafferty-Llewellyn tradition of solid, straightforward detection mingled with family mayhem.