When her married boyfriend is killed on the job, a fast-track London detective transfers to West Midlands looking for the peace and quiet that’s so elusive in mystery fiction.
Arriving at the Birmingham CID, Detective Sergeant Kate Power finds her new colleagues hunting a pedophilic killer and her old Auntie Cassie in a nursing home, from which vantage point she’s left Kate a decrepit house and volunteered her for Sunday organ-playing at the local church. Assigned to office work by her strident, antifeminist supervisor and made the brunt of practical jokes and worse by a jealous co-worker, Kate is cheered by the fellowship of Colin Roper, a similarly undervalued gay cop, and the encouragement of dishy, unhappily married DCI Graham Harvey. And there’s more good news: The minister and his wife, Giles and Maz, are friendly and helpful, and his brother-in-law Paul has taken it on himself to fix up her digs personally. But the continuing brutalization of young boys makes her itchy for fieldwork, and as she prods and pokes unofficially, she connects the pedophile with a bit of nastiness at the church that reaches back ten years and has sinister ramifications for present-day CID officers.
If the good seem too good and the bad too bad, Cutler’s US debut atones with close analyses of chauvinism, racism, and the attractions of married men.