Detective Inspector Christy Kennedy muses on life, love and murder suspects.
The bonfire has barely begun to snap, crackle and pop when some of the tinder inside it begins to scream. When members of the Camden Town CID poke around the ashes, they find enough gold fillings to identify the corpse as one of their own: retired Supt. David Peters. On the scene and on the case is DI Christy Kennedy, who’s rather abashed when the widow, now to inherit two whopping insurance policies, begins an affair with Edward O’Neill senior, a reformed career criminal; the victim’s mistress fusses about wasting her life waiting for wedding bells; and Peters’s granddaughter and O’Neill’s son seem intent on lying to provide alibis for each other. Rumors surface about Peters’ having been bent, and much time is spent going over his old cases. When a photographer friend of Christy’s love, journalist ann rea, brings in a snapshot of two figures lurking at the bonfire before it was lit, Christy focuses on the photographer’s motives for being so gratuitously helpful. Meanwhile, Christy and the indomitable ann maintain their habit of not telling each other everything—to keep some surprises, says ann. The ploy backfires when ann is held hostage on her houseboat by a murderer she never knew Christy was investigating.
As in many of Christy’s cases (Sweetwater, 2006, etc.), it’s all too easy to spot the villain in this one, which is low-key to the point of inertia.