A cold case suddenly heats up for DCI George Hennessey (Gift Wrapped, 2013, etc.) and his colleagues.
The murders of Noel Middleton’s parents and his sister, Sara, a 19-year-old whom a traffic accident had left blind several years earlier, have long sat in the York CID’s files of unsolved cases. The police have determined that the crime was perpetrated by “more than two but no more than six” individuals assumed to have entered the home to steal the jewelry that was found missing. Noel, who survived because he was away at university, has accepted the CID’s inability to find the assailants until he looks into the window of a local antiquary and sees a vase that disappeared the night of the murder. Hoping that the police can trace whomever sold the vase to the dealer back to the criminals responsible for the deaths of his family, Middleton persuades Hennessey to reopen the case. But when Carmen Pharoah, Reg Webster, Thompson Ventnor, and Somerled Yellich investigate, what they find shocks even the seasoned DCI. The Middletons seem to have been killed not by professionals after loot but thrill-seeking psychopaths who, according to forensic psychologist Kamy Joseph, eventually “matured” out of their habit of homicide. How many victims did they claim before this maturation took hold? It takes Hennessey’s team not only persistence, but considerable ingenuity to solve a string of apparently motiveless crimes committed in the distant past.
A quirky change from the usual sifting through the suspects most likely to have wanted the victim dead, with only the ritual recounting of each detective’s domestic arrangements to remind readers of the customary Turnbull formula.