Investigating a decade-old murder requires still another expansion of DCI George Hennessey’s cadre of detectives.
Petty thief Tom Gunn turns out to be right on the money with the information he trades for a softer sentence. Hard-timer Big Phil Buchan did indeed dump a body in an abandoned field in Pendwick before he got sent up to Full Sutton. The 6’6” corpse, hidden all these years under a mound of asphalt, can only be that of private investment financier Arthur Aldidge, whose ice-cold wife Audrey says he went to his office in York one spring morning and never returned to his posh home in Thaxted Green. Given rumors of a brigade of ultra-right-wingers performing military drills behind said home, Commander Sharkey wants the case solved quickly, but without undue stress to Hennessey. So having supplemented the Hennessey-Yellich team with Thompson Ventnor and Reginald Webster (Once a Biker, 2007), Sharkey adds Detective Constable Carmen Pharoah to the mix. Afro-Caribbean Pharoah poses a challenge to both Audrey Aldidge’s elitist British Alliance cronies and to the skinhead Defenders of St. George, who do the scutwork for better-educated white supremacists. But it’s her instincts as a cop and her dogged legwork that help crack the case.
Once you put aside the endless repetition of the detectives’ domestic details, you’re left with a pretty good mystery.