Comfortably settled in Sherebury, England, with her second husband Alan, a retired police inspector, former schoolmarm Dorothy Martin is unsettled at the posthumous request that arrives in the post: Would she return to Hillsburg, Indiana, the letter writer pleads, and find out who killed him? Since the man asking, nonagenarian Kevin Cassidy, was a close friend of her late husband and, like him, a professor at Randolph University, Dorothy, with Alan beside her, is soon flying back to the States, where nothing is exactly as she remembers it. Charming banks have become inglorious parking lots, and former students are all grown up and toiling in the police department, the hospital human resources department, and the county clerk’s record room. Even more unsettling, nobody except Dorothy and Alan seems to think Cassidy passed away from anything but pneumonia. Treading circumspectly, they question Cassidy’s closest neighbors, disturbed Vietnam vet Jerry and development-picketing pharmacist Hannah, then delve into the backgrounds of a doctor, a scamming preacher, and a close-mouthed lawyer. Jerry dies, the doctor takes it on the lam, and a series of loans Cassidy made to pals in need seems to indicate a motive—all of which leads to a timely suicide.
Like its predecessors (The Victim in Victoria Station, 1999, etc.), low-key and leisurely, with charming insights on revisiting one's past, the love life of the less-young, and the furor aroused in Indiana by a Notre Dame football game.