A murder on an English country estate provokes an investigation that must travel back in time for answers.
In 1909, Sebastian Chetwynd journeys to his Shropshire home with his neighbor Louisa Fox, suffragette and medical student. Soon after his arrival, the murdered body of an unidentified woman is found. Seb has a feeling his family is somehow involved. When a local detective and a man from Scotland Yard set out to solve the mystery, their path leads back to London. Eccles also reveals the thoughts of a woman who is slowly recovering her memory after a deadly bus accident nearly took her life. In a twist of fate, amnesiac Hannah Jackson Smith’s path had crossed Louisa Fox’s when they both were trapped in the siege of Mafeking during the Boer War. The murdered woman was an Armenian refugee working as Hannah’s maid. Is the unidentified child found on the bus Hannah’s son? Was she the mistress of Sebastian’s older brother Harry, who was killed in the accident? Does Harry’s twin sister Sylvia know more than she’s telling? As the detectives keep digging, a captivating tale of love, sacrifice, greed and ambition emerges.
Once more, as so often in Eccles (The Shape of Sand, 2006, etc.), the past shapes a present packed with both admirable and despicable characters and interesting bits of historical lore.