A sleuthing couple fights bigotry.
Returning from yet another round of travel abroad (The Missing Masterpiece, 2017, etc.) to the cathedral town of Sherebury, expatriate American Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired Chief Constable Alan Nesbitt, find trouble close to home. Their friend Margaret Allenby, the dean’s wife, introduces them to the Ahmads, a wealthy, charming Iraqi couple who are interested in attending a service at the cathedral. Because she foresees that the current unpleasant political climate may find people unhappy at seeing Muslims in a Christian church, Margaret asks Dorothy and Alan to accompany them. The visit, including the Ahmads’ children, Aya and Rahim, goes smoothly, but the couple’s return visit to the cathedral the following week to hear an evening performance of Handel's “Messiah” does not. While the children are left at the Rose and Crown under the supervision of the inn’s owner, Greta, the Ahmads vanish along with their car. Alan uses his clout to launch an immediate investigation into the volatile situation. Have the Ahmads been kidnapped? Even worse, are they involved in terrorism? While Dorothy uses her contacts to investigate home-grown crazies who may be targeting Muslims, Alan works with the police and MI5, who are scouring London for the missing pair. The search becomes even more frantic when the spare suitcase Greta remembers the couple having left in the attic turns out to be packed with cash. Though Dorothy and Alan can’t believe the Ahmads are terrorists, they feel pressed to find them and learn what they’re doing before any of the hate groups on every side discovers their whereabouts.
The slight mystery takes a back seat to a heartfelt exploration of religious animosity and bigotry.