In his seventh Lake District mystery (The Frozen Shroud, 2013, etc.), Edwards shows that a troubled local family can rename the Dungeon House as Ravenglass Knoll, but they can’t erase its violent past or prevent a recurrence of the same fatal passions.
Twenty years ago, Malcolm Whiteley, who ran a highly questionable waste management firm, had questions of his own about Lysette, the first love he’d married. So convinced was Malcolm that Lysette was betraying him with someone—maybe Gray Elstone, Malcolm’s accountant; maybe Robbie Dean, the former football player who’d killed his girlfriend, Carrie North, in a careless car accident; maybe Scott Durham, the neighbor who was giving her painting lessons; maybe Nigel Whiteley, the son of Malcolm’s estranged, cancer-stricken brother Ted, a boy reputed to fancy older women—that it was practically certain he’d kill one of them sooner or later. Instead, according to the evidence, he shot Lysette, then chased after their beloved daughter, Amber, and threw her off a cliff, and finally stuck the gun in his own mouth. Finis—until DCI Hannah Scarlett, of Cumbria’s Cold Case Review Team, is asked to look once more into the case at the very moment that Joanna Footit, a former girlfriend of Nigel’s who was seriously traumatized in the same accident that killed Carrie North and crippled Robbie Dean, decides that it would be a perfect time to return to Dungeon House, Malcolm’s home, which Nigel has inherited and christened Ravenglass Knoll, and look up her old friends and neighbors. Let’s just say that Hannah’s labors are crowned with greater success than Joanna’s.
Despite the gap of all those years, Edwards works exceptionally close to his characters. So every complication he piles on so generously comes with a fresh sting, even if many readers will be left more bemused than challenged by this intricate puzzler.