Brighton Police Commissioner Bob Watts, usually above the fray, can’t resist the lure of a complicated case.
Watts’ former lover DI Sarah Gilchrist (Those Who Feel Nothing, 2014, etc.) is far from satisfied with her current diet of one-night stands. As she ponders her problems, a call from her erudite detective sergeant, Bellamy Heap, plunges her and Watts into a twisty murder case. A man has been found stabbed outside the Salthaven Lido, which is the center of a battle between developer Alice Sutherland and those trying to save the Art Deco building. Pathologist Frank Bilson identifies the man as Roland Gulliver, a gay man with whom he sometimes swam. An autopsy shows that Gulliver drowned before he was stabbed and his body was moved. Gulliver once swam the English Channel, and Heap’s girlfriend, radio reporter Kate Simpson, is in training to do so—as is Bob Watts. Gulliver was working on the Save the Lido campaign, but committee chair April Medavoy can’t imagine that his involvement provides a motive for murder, and there’s always the possibility of a hate crime. Watts and Kate are in a practice race in the Lake District run by Dolphin Smile’s Derek Neill when one of the swimmers dies, ostensibly of a heart attack. In another qualifier for a Channel swim, wealthy Christine Bromley also drowns. Both deaths turn out to be anything but accidents. Picking up some hints from Watts and Sarah, who are deeply involved in the long-distance swimming scene, the police chase clues as far away as Thailand. Seemingly unrelated people and events turn out to have unexpected connections that provide most of the answers.
Cleverly nuanced sleuths solve a series of knotty crimes with daring and panache.