A coroner faces the toughest case of her life.
Since Martha Gunn avoids watching the news on her time off, she’s taken aback when DI Alex Randall arrives at her office first thing Monday to discuss a suicide. Gina Marconi, a beautiful, successful lawyer with a young son, was about to marry renowned reporter Julius Zedanski. Why would she drive straight into a wall at 60 miles per hour in the middle of the night? She left no note, and Martha wonders what could have driven her to suicide. She’s used to bouncing ideas off Randall, whose longtime friendship with her borders on a romance that can never blossom because he’s married to Erica, a mentally disturbed woman he feels obliged to care for. Randall calls about another suicide after 12-year-old Patrick Elson jumps off a bridge onto a major highway. A clever boy with everything to look forward to, he was a bit of a geek who may have been bullied. Martha, who suspects that the cases are related, is busy conducting interviews when a third death sends her into a panic. Erica Randall’s fallen down the stairs and broken her neck, and Alex is being questioned by his fellow officers. Knowing that she can’t act as coroner on a case involving Alex, Martha asks another coroner to take over. But she’s still desperate to find proof of his innocence, a tough task in the absence of witnesses. Doggedly investigating, Martha comes up with some clues that promise to lead to both a conclusion and a peck of trouble for the investigator.
The latest of Masters’ character-driven procedurals (The Devil’s Chair, 2014, etc.) holds your attention from the first chapter to the last.