Surrey DCI Roy Grace (Billionaire, 2015, etc.) goes up against a silky black widow—and a pair of unwelcome blasts from his own past.
Jodie Bentley was never as attractive as her older sister, Cassie, and her parents drilled it into her head early on that beauty was the key to a have-it-all lifestyle. Years after doing some serious work on both her body and her family, she’s snared elderly American financier Walt Klein, whom she entices onto the slopes of an Alpine ski resort and to his death. Mission accomplished, except that Walt turns out to be a lot less wealthy than Jodie thought—he was even facing prosecution for a Ponzi scheme—and she has to pin her dreams to someone else, someone like high-profile London art dealer Rowley Carmichael. Rollo really is wealthy, and it’s not likely he’ll last long at all. In between her two beaus, Jodie’s hooked up in New York with mob bagman Romeo Munteanu, a brief encounter that seriously enriches her but puts Tooth, a professional killer, on her trail. As Tooth and his unwitting prey ponder their homicidal plots, Grace gets some disconcerting news about two people he thought were dead: Sandy, the wife who abandoned him when he took up with Cleo, the medical tech he impregnated and married, and Dr. Edward Crisp, the general practitioner who killed five people and sent Grace to the hospital before he vanished. Sandy’s been struck by a taxi in Munich; Crisp has been arrested in France. A witless burglar who breaks into Jodie’s Brighton home and pays a high price for his foolishness improbably sets Grace on the scent of both Jodie and Tooth. But there’s no evidence to speak of against her, and he’s as insubstantial as a murderous will-o’-the-wisp. Except in the Crisp subplot, which remains very sub indeed, James dots every I and crosses every T.
The results are absorbing, unspectacular, predictable, and satisfying.