Mid-Lancashire Detective Chief Inspector Charlie Woodend (The Butcher Beyond, 2004, etc.) continues his streak of irritating his superiors while protecting the public—including those closest to him.
Solving the murder of Pamela Rainsford would be difficult under normal circumstances. True, Derek Higson, her boss, who owes Charlie for shielding him from the bullies at Sudbury Street primary school, is a model of cooperation. So is his fashionable young wife Lucy, who had hand-picked Pamela to work for her husband. But nobody at New Horizons Enterprises has much to say about the mousy secretary, who seems to have had no personal life. Even her ex-husband, Constable Tony Rainsford, is ruled out, having died in a car crash years ago. And circumstances are anything but normal. Half of Woodend’s team—DS Bob Rutter—is the chief suspect in the murder of Maria, his own wife; the other half—DS Monika Paniatowski—is wallowing in grief because she believes her affair with Rutter supplied his motive. DCI Evans, in charge of the Rutter case, also seems so convinced of Bob’s guilt that he’s carrying out only the most desultory investigation. Although Chief Constable Henry Marlowe warns him it will cost him his job, staying out of the Maria Rutter case is the last thing Woodend will do.
Spencer’s compact page-turner packs more mystery into less space than most of its competitors.