A case that hits close to home for the author’s unflappable detective, superintendent Gil Mayor of the Lavenstock police force (Killing Me Softly, 1999, etc.). His globetrotting daughter Julie is presently in Texas, as far as he knows, making it even more shocking to find her name registered for the room at the Freyning Manor Hotel, where her best friend, Kat Conolly, has been found stabbed to death. Also found, in the room’s safe, is a pornographic video showing a young Maggie Vye—the present-day, highly respected M.P. Kat, after a long spell of caring for her dying father, Hugh, had moved out of the family’s Orbury House and gotten involved with something called Group Six—a small band of environmental protestors, headed by handsome Andrew Inskof; she had also seemed attracted to Max Fisher, her late father’s business partner, and to Luke Raeburn, her brother Jamie’s friend from Italy, on a mission of his own. The case is handled mostly by Inspector Abigail Moon as Mayo worries about Julie’s whereabouts, but he gets back into the game to help sort things out and pin down Kat’s killer—not easy and, in the end, not very convincing.
Eccles’s prose here is a bit overwrought; the plotting a bit too dense. Readable but far from this author’s best.