Most people wouldn’t think of consulting an advice columnist for help when their brothers go walkabout, but then most advice columnists are nothing like Primrose Holland, who edits the women’s page for the Skipley Chronicle and contributes her own column, filled with such inimitably tactful recommendations as a bagpipe reveille for an elderly bird-watcher troubled by nocturnally noisy neighbors. So it’s only natural that Fiona Morris should ask Rosie to stick her nose into the business of Philip Morris’s disappearance. Is he really off watching birds in the Shetlands, as a scribbled postcard attests, or has he been spirited away from his Edinburgh rooms as part of some deep-dyed criminal enterprise? Joining forces with Arthur Prufrock, the old bird- watcher who likes his quiet, and Prufrock’s second-sighted gardener Shad Lucas, Rosie sets off from the Midlands to Edinburgh to pick up Philip’s trail. And if the detectives are not only more interesting but more numerous than the suspects, Bannister, fresh from her rougher-edged Castlemere procedurals and her tour de force The Lazarus Hotel (1997), hasn’t forgotten to supply all the tension, and when necessary the brutality, she needs to keep you hot on Philip’s trail too. A beautifully judged start for a most welcome new series.