Back in the North Wales village of Llanfair, where nothing ever changes except for the dropping population count, bachelor constable Evan Evans (Evan and Elle, 2000, etc.) once again meets murder. This time, his higher-ups have directed Evan to make himself available to an English movie team about to produce a documentary based on the raising of a German WWII bomber plane from nearby Llyn Llylaw Lake. Well-known director Howard Blauer heads the team of divers and photographers, along with WWII buff Edward Ferrers and handsome, smarmy producer Grantley Smith. Evan’s first foray into the past discloses a surprise that has nothing to do with the war: Ferrers was once married to Bronwen Price, Evan’s schoolteacher girlfriend. Sticking more closely to the business at hand, Smith is busy trying to enlarge the movie’s scope with war stories from the locals, some of whom worked in the town’s slate mine during the war. One of those is the old and ailing Trefor Thomas, once deeply involved with the National Gallery artworks stored for safety deep in the mine through the war years. Smith’s inquiries into the past eventually take him too far, and he disappears, his body turning up in a lake deep inside the mine. It takes all of our hero’s sleuthing skills and a brush with death to solve his murder.
Denser and more detailed than Evan’s first four adventures, but the action is crisp, the small-town atmosphere and characters as appealing as ever. Though Evan’s superiors are as usual unimpressed, his coterie of fans will be pleased—and enlarged.