A portrait painter seeks solace but finds murder in a quaint Hampshire cottage.
Too traumatized to stay in Clapham and face the crumbling of her marriage to writer Ian McBride, Iris Grey flees to quiet Hazelford, where she takes up residence in Mill Cottage, a little house on the estate of Dom and Ariadne Wetherby. A friendship between Iris and her fellow artist Ariadne, a sculptor, would seem natural. Instead Iris finds herself drawn to Dom, a thoroughgoing extrovert who basks in the spotlight as creator of Grimshaw, a fictional detective beloved by television audiences across the U.K. Dom’s sudden suicide sends Iris reeling but also marks the start of her re-engagement with the world. Probing the complex relationships among the remaining Wetherbys—Ariadne, successful son Marcus and his sometimes too-perceptive wife, Jenna, black sheep Billy, and intellectually limited Lorcan, who insists his father was killed by a ghost—she strives to understand Dom outside the spotlight his fame cast on him. And she revives her own capacity for intimacy through a tender relationship with solicitor Graham Feeney, a family friend of the Wetherbys. Unraveling the tangled Wetherby skein gives Iris plenty of opportunity for growth in Shaw’s rich mystery debut.
Pseudonymous Shaw, who under her given name of Tilly Bagshawe writes her own novels and inherited the late Sidney Sheldon's franchise (Sidney Sheldon’s The Silent Widow, 2018, etc.), makes a smooth transition to the world of puzzlers.