Two old friends stir up a hornet’s nest when they report a murder they witnessed as schoolboys.
DC Reginald Webster can hardly believe that two middle-aged businessmen would make up such a tale. So when Cyrus Middleton and Tony Allerton come in to report discovering a newly dug grave in a field close to the village of Catton Hill, Webster’s boss, DCI George Hennessey (Aftermath, 2011, etc.), has no choice but to investigate. Problem is, Middleton and Allerton found the grave back when they were 15. Sure enough, in a field owned by irascible landlord Thomas Farrent, Hennessey’s men dig up five skeletons. Four are alike enough to be a family, similarly short in stature. The fifth is taller and perhaps unrelated. Slogging through 30-year-old missing-persons cold cases, DC Carmen Pharoah reads about the Parrs: father, mother and two adult daughters who disappeared from the posh King Henry Hotel at about the right time. But why did the Parrs leave their bohemian home in Camden Town for the Vale of York? Who was the taller girl traveling with them? And most important: Who wanted these gentle, harmless people dead? While Hennessey’s team struggles for answers, Farrant’s wife goes missing, adding a new urgency to the decades-old puzzle.
Brisk and businesslike, Turnbull’s latest in the series proves a worthy addition to his reliable franchise.