An ice-cold case heats up when a new murder discloses an old one.
Checking out a story about a body hidden in an old building, Massachusetts State Police Trooper Leigh Abbott finds a recently dead man. Then, while waiting for the crime scene team, she and the medical examiner find a hidden door. At the bottom of the stairs is the Blue Ruin speak-easy, and behind a brick wall are the remains of a corpse. It’s a perfect case for Leigh to work with her lover, forensic anthropologist Dr. Matt Lowell, and his team. Someone has been sending Leigh packages of material suggesting that her father, a respected state trooper killed in the line of duty, was a dirty cop. She takes a chance on asking a computer expert to go over the material while she works the two murders. The more recent corpse is that of Peter Holt, the only son of wealthy widow Evelyn Holt. And the skeletal remains prove to be those of Charles Ward, Mrs. Holt’s father, who’s been missing ever since Prohibition. Since Ward was the owner of the speak-easy, Leigh looks for a connection between the Holt family and the Kain family, who first reported the possibility of the hidden body. The elder Kain, now in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s, was once a bricklayer, and evidence suggests that Ward was killed with a bricklayer’s tool. Although Leigh is certain that Kain is Charles Ward's killer, she can’t prove it, and the long-ago unsolved murder of Kain’s wife only complicates the case. As they dig for clues, Leigh and Matt find feuding families, an innocent man in prison and new information about Leigh’s father.
Leigh’s fourth (A Flame in the Wind of Death, 2014, etc.) is a complex case loaded with forensic and historical detail, the authors’ best so far.