While suffering the privations of life on his own, DI Joseph Rafferty tries gamely to solve the murder of an unpopular businessman.
Small wonder he’s lonely. Ever since his fiancée Abra got wind of his efforts to cut costs in planning their wedding (Death Dues, 2008, etc.) she’s frozen him out. And single life doesn’t suit our Joe. It leaves him far too much time to worry whether his thrifty Ma is going to get pinched for buying some of the dicey electronics the nefarious Perkins brothers have been boosting from local merchants. And it prompts him to sit for hours in the bar of The Railway Arms, where he hears obnoxious Keith Sutherland crash son Ian’s bachelor party. Proximity to the scene gives Rafferty no advantage when the elder Sutherland turns up dead in the car park. He interviews Ian, sister Susie and their mother Mary, none of whom seem much saddened by Keith’s passing. Derek Fowler is anything but grieved, since his partner’s death gives him control of their electronic wholesale firm. Not even Andy Strong, proprietor of the Railway Arms, will miss Keith; with his custom came unwanted advances to Andy’s wife. And Keith’s mistress, Carol Mumford, keenly aware of his propensity to pursue other women, seems more tolerant than loving. Despite patient, repetitive police work, no front-runner emerges, and Inspector Bradley comes down ever harder on Rafferty’s aching head.
Little humor and no surprises, though the sense of tedium seems authentic enough.