Yet another of the author’s absorbing procedurals, this time set in the city of York, where Detective Chief Inspector George Hennessey presides over the Micklegate Bar Police Station when local retiree John Smith, taking his usual walk on the edge of the Whickham Great Wood, comes across the body of freelance reporter Cornelius Weekes, an apparent suicide, in a closed, fume-filled car. When a painstaking autopsy by Hennessey’s close friend Dr. Louise D’Acre proves the death to be murder, Hennessey begins an exploration of Weekes’s recent movements. He soon links the case to the death 18 years ago of Donald Round, another reporter. Both men, Hennessey learns, had been examining the case of Melanie Clifford, imprisoned for the murder of her long-time lover Toby Erickson’s wealthy wife Charlotte. It’s soon clear to Hennessey that John Cross, the long-retired police detective who first headed the Erickson investigation, had deliberately ignored evidence in Melanie’s favor. Now, 18 years later, Hennessey and sidekick Detective Sergeant Yellich are convinced of Melanie’s innocence and set out to prove it.
An entertaining chronicle told in Turnbull’s comfortable style (The Man With No Face, 1998, etc), marred only by its barely credible denouement.