DI Liam McLusky (A Good Way to Go, 2015, etc.) tracks a serial killer whose motive is just a bit obscure.
McLusky has a lot on his plate besides the cholesterol-filled eggs, bacon, and blood pudding that have him dreading his upcoming annual physical. But as he tries to make his peace with healthy options at the Albany Road police station’s canteen, he and his bagman, DS James “Jane” Austin, find themselves up against a real doozy of a murder. Someone shoots wealthy Charles Mendenhall in the neck, and he bleeds to death on the grounds of Woodlea House, his antiques-filled country estate. His son and heir, David, is the obvious suspect, but as McLusky tries to nail him, a strange thing happens: someone starts attacking Mendenhall’s closest friends. First, antiques dealer Nicholas Longmaid is shot to death at Stanmore House, his country estate. McLusky fears that genial Leonidas Poulimenos, friend to both Longmaid and Mendenhall, will be next, so he cautiously accepts the Greek businessman’s offer of a weekend stay at Rosslyn Crag, his country house in Cornwall. McLusky hopes to snoop around Port Isaac, where the three friends witnessed a boating accident that drowned Ben Kahn, the fourth of their painting group. He also hopes that a trip to Cornwall will ease his reconciliation with Laura, his estranged girlfriend. Instead, someone burns the spacious home to the ground, costing Laura her laptop with a semester’s research on it and plunging McLusky into an investigation that’s clearly more complex than it seemed.
Helton’s complications are more inventive than his resolution, as he leads McLusky down a labyrinthine path to a fairly pedestrian solution.