Barely accepted as one of the boys at the West Midlands station house, DS Kate Power confronts sexism, racism, spousal abuse, fraud, burglary, drug manufacture, and perhaps murder.
Kate returns from an Italian holiday to find Alan Grafton, the man who’d sat in the plane seat next to her, swinging from a rope, his handsome new sweater and shoes dotted with his blood. Although the amorous pathologist, who wants to have sex with Kate astride a motorcycle, thinks it’s suicide, she opts for murder. An anonymous phone call from a terrified woman leads her to suspect civic nabob Howard Sanderson, who controls his wife Isobel’s every movement, locks up their son Nigel, and forces him to doctor purloined vitamin tablets so they look like Ecstasy. As if that weren’t enough to keep a girl busy, two of Kate’s fellow officers are hassling the newest female recruit; married DCI Graham Harvey, who owns a piece of her heart, is running hot and cold; her aged auntie is acting up in the nursing home; and the firm redoing her kitchen may be robbing her. If not for the support of gay Constable Colin Roper, Kate would be well and truly overwhelmed.
As in Kate’s debut (Power on Her Own, 2003), Cutler concentrates on chauvinism, racism, and the almost inexplicable allure of certain men. With all that on her mind, it’s no wonder she can’t quite keep control of her plot.