Cambridgeshire reporter Philip Dryden (The Skeleton Man, 2008, etc.) returns to solve the mystery of his father’s death—an especially challenging case, considering that the old man apparently died twice.
Jack Dryden was swept away while making a gallant, futile attempt to protect the city of Ely from the calamitous floods of 1977. So how is it that his body’s just been discovered burned to death in a car accident? The corpse’s fiery fate would make exact identification difficult even for people who’d seen Jack in the past 30 years. But the general description and the dental work both confirm what his identification papers assert: He’s Jack Dryden. His son, consumed with skepticism and curiosity, would love to devote every waking moment to solving the mystery. But his attention is claimed by two other problems: the death of Fen Rivers Water Authority bailiff Rory Setchey, who seems to have been hung from a gantry, already dead, and then shot several times, and the West Fen District Council’s refusal to release the body of Aque, the infant daughter of David and Gillian Yoruba, to her heartbroken parents. Since David is facing deportation to Niger and Dryden has just become a father himself, he feels especially close to the grieving parents. He can’t imagine that his three cases will turn out to be connected by a long-standing conspiracy as simple and clever as it is monstrous.
Even if they never came up with such a diabolical plot, long-winded colleagues could well take example from the generosity and economy with which Kelly (Death’s Door, 2012, etc.) spins his web.