Scotland Yard tracks an international assassin during World War II, aided for a third time by retired inspector John Madden (Blood-Dimmed Tide, 2005, etc.).
In 1940 Paris, a Jewish businessman who’s converted his wealth to diamonds to flee the Nazi invasion is killed on his doorstep hours before departing. In 1944 London, a young Polish refugee, Rosa Nowak, is murdered under cover of the blackout. Chief Inspector Angus Sinclair, mystified by why anyone would brutally strangle an innocent land girl, turns to his old friend John Madden. Madden has retired from the force for a quiet country life, where, coincidentally enough, he and his clever wife Helen had sheltered Rosa. Spurred by his obligation to the girl, Madden joins forces with Sinclair, as does young policewoman Lily Poole, who has enough grit and moxie to investigate London’s underworld. Poole finds their first thin lead—a brassy French prostitute who saw a man chase after Rosa—but she’s next to turn up dead. The investigation of her death leads to a stakeout to catch the murderer, but the plan is blown to smithereens by a V-2 bomb. Instead, the villain gets away with three more murders, thousands of pounds and the diamonds stolen in Paris four years before. Now Sinclair, Madden and Poole must track an international criminal through the fog of war, hoping he leaves a trail back to Rosa.
Ploddingly slow, every plot twist glaringly obvious. Only for diehard fans of the setting or series.