Evans switches sleuths and settings, but not her m.o., in her latest examination of the politics of police work.
Detective Superintendent Thomas Catt of the King’s Langley force has a reputation to match his name. Abandoned as a baby, he avoids emotional entanglements. Though his partner, DCI Will Casey, doesn’t envy Catt his institutional upbringing, his own feckless hippie parents have Willow Tree—a birth name he studiously hides from fellow detectives—at the end of his tether. Evicted from their East Anglia smallholding, they arrive on his doorstep, providing an unwelcome distraction from his latest case: the arson murder of young widow Chandra Bansi and her infant daughter Leela. There are plenty of suspects. Chandra’s in-laws, despising her modern views, cast her aside the moment her husband Magan died in an auto accident. And her own parents were strangely distant, putting her up in a dismal apartment rather than in their spacious home. But Casey’s boss, Supt. Brown-Smith, responds to a task force report branding the British police inherently racist by asking him to look outside the Asian community for Chandra’s killer. So Willow Tree can either bend with the wind, pursuing a case against two young punks whose boasts of torching Chandra’s apartment ring false, or face down his superiors to find the real murderer.
Though it’s not clear why Evans shops Rafferty and Llewellyn (Absolute Poison, 2003), Casey and Catt are worthy successors.