Things are going their usual boring way in Yorkshire’s quiet town of Bradfield, where Chief Inspector Michael Thackeray lives with feisty reporter Laura Ackroyd (Perils of the Night, 1999, etc.). Quiet, that is, until a work crew digging the foundation for a new factory unearths a human skull and bones. Thackeray, Sergeant Kevin Mower, and pathologist Amos Atherton soon have a likely identification: 14-year-old Mariella Bonnetti, who disappeared on Coronation Day decades before, almost certainly a victim of murder. Meanwhile, Laura is meeting aging Hollywood star John Blake, who once lived in Bradfield and has returned to open the town’s new movie museum. Blake, accompanied by tough-talking publicist Lorelei Baum, is trying to put together a deal for a new movie version of Jane Eyre that he hopes will revive his flagging career. Laura, while writing her article on Blake for the Sunday Extra, is deeply troubled by her grandmother Joyce’s failing health and disturbed by her treatment at the Laurels Nursing Home. Thackeray’s and Mower’s painstaking inquiries of every family still in the area who lived there at the crucial time propels a second killing and then, indirectly, a third. Laura barely escapes with her life, but a door is opened into a secret part of Thackeray’s.
Rich, complex, and convincing even if its plot is a shade overelaborate. Another atmospheric accomplished outing for Thackeray.