Detective Superintendent Harriet Martens’s plan to resign from the Greater Birchester Police is put on hold when she witnesses a murder.
Robert Roughouse never backed down from a fight. A former Tory MP, he broke with his colleagues to found the Innovation Party. A lifelong hunting enthusiast, he took pains to address every anti-hunting rally he could find. The shower of rotten eggs he endures in the mining town of Gralethorpe, however, becomes deadly when one of the eggs turns out to be a grenade launched before Harriet’s eyes. Taking charge of the case, she faces an endless series of snooty, uncooperative suspects, witnesses and superiors. No one stonewalls her at greater length than Sylvia Fishlock, the dragon who continues to insist that the Masterton Clinic, where the grievously injured victim has been rushed, is safe and secure—even after someone breaks into the clinic and finishes off Roughouse with a pillow over his head. Following the first of a series of hunches, Harriet focuses her investigation on the Cabal, a secretive group of Roughouse’s schoolmates who she’s convinced are ready to break even more laws than thou shalt not kill.
Harriet is muffled by frustration and grief for her son (One Man and His Bomb, 2006, etc.), and the detective work is a bit of a slog. The capture of the murderer, however, winds up Keating’s usual suave handling of interrogations with a bang.