After 27 years on London’s Metropolitan Police, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Brock has seen it all, though not often as graphically as in the bloody crime scene featuring working girl Monica Purvis. Still, brutal though the slaying is, the case at first appears bleakly routine. Quicker than you can say “big fish,” though, appearances turn out to be deceiving. The very next day, Harry’s summoned to the office of Commissioner Sir Charles Austen, the Met’s top cop, to be issued a warning. Sir Charles, it seems, had received his own warning from the eminent Geoffrey Halstead, MP and cabinet minister, expressing concern about the direction a certain investigation might take. Halstead feared he might come to be regarded as a suspect in the Purvis case. That would be a mistake, he urged Sir Charles, who in turn wants Harry to come to precisely the same conclusion. True enough, Halstead had been a sometime client of the Purvis woman’s, but could he have trespassed further? Unthinkable. Unthinkable, Sir Charles had agreed, seizing the point. Two days later, however, Harry, nothing daunted, is producing his warrant card and issuing a caution to an enraged cabinet minister. Will evidence leading elsewhere make Harry regret his temerity, or will the honorable Halstead be resigning his seat early?
Meat and potatoes for the police-procedural buff.