DI Andy Horton (Death Lies Beneath, 2012, etc.) waxes increasingly frustrated when his superiors just can’t seem to connect the dots.
The death of naval historian Douglas Spalding was bad enough. Spalding was found floating in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard shortly after his lecture in the adjacent National Museum of the Royal Navy. Career-minded DCI Lorraine Bliss decides that the quickest way to dispose of the case is to label it a suicide. Horton can’t shake her, even when Daniel Redsall, who came all the way from Ulster to attend Spalding’s talk, turns up dead on Carl Ashton’s yacht in Oyster Quays. Horton interviews museum staff, university staff and Redsall’s Aunt Beatrice trying to find the tie between the two men. But he can’t even get a coherent account of Spalding’s research program. Retired naval officer Ivor Meadows thinks he was writing about women in the Royal Navy. Colleague Erica Leyton says that he was looking into HMS Challenger. Another says he was looking into prostitution. The subject of Spalding’s research is hard to ascertain since his briefcase, laptop and memory stick are all missing. The more Horton digs, the more he feels thwarted by the very people who should be helping him—it’s the same with his search for information about his mother, Jennifer, who disappeared when he was 10. It takes still another murder to get the attention of members of his own team, DCI Bliss and DS Uckfield. And Andy’s frustration may just be reaching the tipping point.
Another solid procedural from Rowson, with a little kick of spy stuff for the adventurous.