A family trip to Spain has far-reaching consequences for DCI Monika Paniatowski (A Walk with the Dead, 2013, etc.).
Although she’s fearful that it will undermine her relationship with her adopted daughter, Monika knows that it’s time for the girl to meet her birth mother’s relatives. So the two travel to Calpe, Spain, where Louisa is feted by her auntie, Pilar, while Monika catches up with her old friends the Woodends, who’ve retired to the Costa Blanca. The next day, something unthinkable happens: Pilar’s lifelong friend Doña Elena, a widow in her 70s, leaves the village outside Calpe where she’s spent her whole life and buys a ticket to England—where her dead body is eventually found in a canal. That canal, of course, is in Whitebridge, making Elena’s death Monika’s problem. She’s been on her boss’s bad list ever since Chief Constable George Baxter’s wife, who was pathologically jealous of Monika, killed herself in a car crash. Now the pressure to find Elena’s killer is intense. Monika knows that Elena was in England to see Robert Martinez, Whitebridge’s first-ever Hispanic MP. But she suspects that the roots of Elena’s murder date back to her involvement with anti-Franco forces in Spain. Tracing Elena’s history will take eyes and ears in Spain—so who better to recruit that Charlie Woodend, who’s teamed up with retired cop Paco Ruiz to form Ojos y Oídos: Agencia de detectives?
What looks like an open-and-shut case ends with twists nobody will see coming in Spencer’s most in-your-face outing for Monika yet.