Richard Jury returns to investigate four deaths separated by time and geography.
When Scotland Yard Superintendant Richard Jury meets Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a bar atop one of London’s financial towers, Williamson asks him to reopen a couple of long-ago deaths. Williamson lost his wife, Tess, 17 years ago, when she apparently suffered an attack of vertigo and fell down the stairs of their Devonshire country house. Five years earlier, she’d given a party there for six children, one of whom died in a draining pool. Tess was acquitted of any wrongdoing, but she never got over the incident. After Jury starts looking into the case, he's inclined to agree with Williamson that someone with vertigo probably wouldn’t have fallen all the way to the bottom of the stairs, and there were easier, more foolproof means of suicide. Jury’s also invited to investigate the case of a red-gowned woman found dead at the foot of a tower in Northamptonshire, near the home of Melrose Plant. Plant, the former Lord Ardry and Jury’s unofficial sidekick, applies his own investigative style whenever he can be torn away from Soufflé Day and other aspects of the perfect life at his estate. Even with Plant’s help, Jury is hard-pressed to make sense of a lost dog, mysterious changes of outfit, a fourth body, and the prevailing questions of whether and how the four deaths are related. The unseen but deeply felt presence of the generous, warmhearted Tess inspires Jury and his team to persevere in seeking justice for her and peace for her husband in a deftly plotted tale balancing wry humor and poignancy without sentimentality.
Though newcomers may find Jury enigmatic without a complete back story (The Black Cat, 2010, etc.), the character sketches Grimes (The Way of All Fish, 2014, etc.) provides are more satisfying than other authors’ full portraits. Longtime fans will find this tale fully worthy of Jury and his regulars.