A character-driven suspenser focusing on a lonely British police inspector obsessed with a newly reopened murder case from her childhood.
Detective Inspector Karen Meadows, 40 and unmarried in seaside Torquay, escapes the chaos of her private life through the order of her police department duties. The two threaten to collide when she receives a call about a body wrapped in a tarp washed up nearby. Karen suspects it might be Clara Marshall, a neighbor who disappeared 27 years ago along with her two young daughters. At the time, dogged reporter John Kelly, whose mother was the Marshall girls’ schoolteacher, strongly suspected Clara’s husband Richard and tried hard to gather evidence against him. But neither Kelly nor local police inspector Bill Talbot could pin the crime on smooth Richard Marshall, who claimed that Clara left him with the kids because of their marital problems. Jumping back and forth between the old investigation and the new, the tale includes a big dose of Clara’s personal problems. The probe gets some traction when the body is definitely identified as Clara and Karen is able to draw Richard in for extended questioning. The following twists and surprises include two secret affairs, one in the past and one in the present, as well as an unexpected suicide.
Veteran Bonner (No Reason To Die, 2004, etc.) works outside conventional mystery or police procedural mode, keeping readers guessing.