The death of a man left comatose by an attack five years ago turns a Grievous Bodily Harm case into a murder for Hennessey and Yellich.
Even before he slipped out of his persistent vegetative state into the great beyond, the evidence was mounting that Duncan Percival was not simply the retired businessman he pretended to be. Although his much younger wife Margaret demurely disclaims any knowledge of his mercantile dealings, Thompson Ventnor, the York police officer who worked the original case, has turned up evidence that they included prostitution, protection and extortion. Now that Percival is dead, Chief Inspector George Hennessey and Sergeant Somerled Yellich (Chill Factor, 2005, etc.) are making the rounds once more. Although they’re lucky enough to link the attack almost immediately to the murder a few days later of elderly Julian and Julia Saffer, they’re frustrated by two developments. Virtually everyone they speak to, from lifer Eddie Challis to gofer Mule Mulligan to aspiring gang member Adam Palfrey, is a lowlife involved in Percival’s criminal empire who refuses to grass on his mates, and the few unfortunates who do dare to say anything soon follow their former boss into eternity, their cheeks slit in a graphic warning to other like-minded souls to keep their mouths shut.
This time, though, the daisy chain of interrogations is unrelieved by humor, penetration, variety or surprise, making this one of sturdy Hennessey and Yellich’s dullest procedurals.