Kingsford attorney Trish Maguire (Creeping Ivy, 1999) is in shock, grieving over the death of her friend Kate Huggate, a social worker who sometimes helped Trish with juvenile court cases. Kate has been brutally raped and murdered, in a manner reminiscent of a string of unsolved attacks over time on five victims who survived and one who didn’t. Chief Inspector William Femur, drafted from the major Investigation Pool with his own staff, is determined to solve the case and perhaps nab the Kingsford Rapist as well. Meanwhile, Trish is trying to cope with ex-accountant Blair Collons—a neurotic, quivering mass of fear and grief, who loved Kate and had been helping with her investigation of local politics. Collons wants Trish to help him verify Kate’s suspicions of the Town Council’s unsavory involvement in property sales and ground contamination. Kate had told him, too, of seeing Michael Napton, chief planning officer of the Council, in a huddle with Martin Drakeshill, shifty garage-owner, and Sergeant Spinel, a drug squad officer. By the time Femur, with much help, wraps up the case, Kate’s murder is solved; the Kingsford Rapist is brought to bay; and life in Kingsford is a lot healthier.
The plotting is complex, with a convincing cast topped by the pathetic Collons. A few dull patches, but reasonably entertaining overall.