The mystery debut of water-traumatized reporter Philip Dryden, who must confront his demons and worse in the flood-ravaged Cambridgeshire Fens.
Crashing through the ice in a childhood skating accident left Dryden mortally afraid of water. Years later, as his wife Laura slept in the back seat, he barely escaped when another car sent his tumbling 20 feet into the Harrimere Drain. Ever since, Laura has lain comatose in the Tower Hospital, where Dryden visits her every day, hoping for signs of movement. None come until he begins investigating the frozen body hauled out of the river Lark for The Weekly Crow (circ. 17,000 and falling). When he connects it to the desiccated corpse that’s been languishing among the Ely Cathedral gargoyles for 30 years, the last time the roof was inspected, and ties both fatalities to the horrific “Crossroads” robbery of 1966 and dishonor amongst thieves fallen out, Laura begins moving. Is her apparent progress a subtle threat: Leave the story alone or your wife’s a goner? Prodding DS Andy Stubbs for information and relying on minicab driver Humph for transport and backup, Dryden resolves old and new mysteries while the Fens are submerged under torrents and Laura lies deathly still in the Tower.
Intriguing characters and locale and wryly believable newsroom background from Financial Times correspondent Kelly. One quibble: Why would water-phobic Dryden choose to live on a superannuated 1930s naval inshore patrol boat?