A very unauthorized interment provides a third outing for Metropolitan DI Harry Vicary (Deep Cover, 2011, etc.).
Genteel East Finchley hardly seems the spot for a brutal crime. But when the workers restoring the wall in the back garden of a Victorian home in the neighborhood find a note in a bin liner stuffed between the courses of glazed Northern Red Brick, builder Alan Brady brings it straight to DC Frank Brunnie of the Murder and Serious Crime Squad. That’s because the note gives the location of a box that the writer hopes “one day…will get a right burial,” suggesting that its contents were once human. And so Dr. Shaftoe, the medical examiner, confirms when Brunnie and Vicary unearth a box of bones in a field outside of Ilford. Whose bones are they? And how did they come to be burned, boxed and buried? Vicary and Brunnie, along with DC Penny Yewdall and DC Tom Ainsclough, start with virtually nothing. But the builder gives them a name: Des Holst, a bricklayer who worked on the original restoration of the wall. Holst’s widow, Pearl, has a temper. More importantly, she has a grudge. Des was once known as Ralph Payne, a prize blagger until he got religion in his old age and gave up thieving for honest labor. But connecting Des to a garden party in Bedfordshire in which two witnesses may have been killed for grassing up Arnie Rainbird will take Vicary’s crew time, patience and, most of all, luck.
Vicary, well up on grit but short on detection, spins the same facts over multiple witnesses and interviews.