Murder and arson strike too close to home for a detective investigating someone else’s case.
DI Andy Horton is still smarting from the double blow of being passed over for promotion and losing his marriage to a false allegation of rape (Deadly Waters, 2007). So he’s hardly pleased when the man who didn’t want him on his major-crime team asks him to look into a fatal fire at Horsea Marina—especially since DCI Steve Uckfield is unavailable because he and his wife Alison are at a gala with Catherine, Horton’s ex, and her new beau. Horton’s pique turns to puzzlement when the corpse turns out to be that of Tom Brundall, an industrialist from Guernsey whose burned body is riddled with cancer. Who would murder a dying man? Still more intriguing is the call Horton receives from Anne Schofield, temporary rector of St. Agnes’s in Portsea, whose predecessor, the late Rev. Rowland Gilmore, left behind a slew of clippings about Andy, one with the notation “Jennifer Horton’s boy.” But the most tantalizing tidbit comes from St. Agnes parishioner Kenneth Gutner, who tells Andy that Brundall visited Gilmore shortly before Gilmore died of a seizure and Brundall was murdered. Horton hopes that the case will tell him more about the fate of his mother, who disappeared when he was a boy. And it might—if it doesn’t kill him first.
A nicely complex plot overcomes Rowson’s overripe prose.