Lt. Col. Patrick Gillard becomes a police officer just in time to run into a triple homicide and trouble with an old friend.
You can’t keep a good man down, author Ingrid Langley muses about her husband. Patrick resigned from MI5 when danger struck too close to his young family. Now his old mate, DCI James Carrick (Prospect of Death, 1996, etc.), tells him of a fast-track recruitment program for military veterans that gives him a chance to become a police officer. Too good a chance, Ingrid realizes ruefully when she sees Patrick leapfrogged over James to be commissioned an Acting Superintendent. The friction between the men bids fair to outshine any excitement created when “three bodies [are] discovered by walkers in a disused farm building about two miles from Hinton Littlemoor.” The flatness of that announcement all too aptly foretells the matter-of-fact tone in which Ingrid recounts a farrago of multiple felonies, red herrings, chases and captures, and endless rounds of questioning in the deaths of three dodgy types who were hung by their heels to have their throats slit. “In my view,” Ingrid helpfully opines, “whoever had done it had an obsession with knives, not to mention a thoroughly nasty turn of mind.”
Despite much hugger-mugger, there are few clues, no suspense and not the slightest interest in any of the suspects as more than interlopers in the manly skirmish between Patrick and James.