The disappearance of a young yachtsman sends shock waves through the Portsmouth CID.
DI Andy Horton (Death Lies Beneath, 2012, etc.) isn’t even out of sight of St. Boniface Down on the Isle of Wight when a frantic phone call from his partner, Barney Cantelli, summons him back from his sailing trip to France. Barney’s nephew, Johnnie Oslow, is missing. Johnnie left Sardinia as scheduled to join Scott Masefield aboard the Calista, getting Xander Andreadis’ yacht ready for the Cowes Week races. Masefield’s crew is made up of ex-servicemen in their 30s, all recovering from post-traumatic stress through therapeutic sailing. Masefield isn’t at all sure that Johnnie, in his mid-20s, will fit in. But the youngster has his own baggage. As a teenager, Johnnie was involved in an arson at a local marina, an offense for which he drew probation, though some of his co-defendants served time. Frantic for a lead, Horton asks yachting photographer Sarah Conway for a recent photo of Johnnie, which he shows up and down the waterfront from Gosport to Chichester until he finds a cabbie who says Johnnie asked the fare to Hayling Island but then set off on foot. Horton interviews Johnnie’s former partners in crime but turns up nothing. Then DS Uckfield reveals that the crew of the Calista may be the target of an investigation into a string of high-end jewel heists. Is Johnnie’s disappearance part of a plot to cover up an international crime? Or does it stem from a more pedestrian juvenile misdeed? Although distracted by his never-ending search for the reason for his mother’s disappearance and by his uncomfortable attraction to fellow cop Harriet Eames, Horton puts his all into the search for his colleague’s nephew.
Readers with a love of yachting and a keen sense of maritime geography will enjoy Rowson’s latest. Everyone else will be pretty much confused.