A convicted murderer’s dying declaration prompts an unexpected investigation for DCI Monika Paniatowski (The Ring of Death, 2010, etc.) and a world of trouble for her beloved Charlie Woodend.
The murder of 13-year-old Lilly Dawson shook small-town Whitebridge to its core. So the pressure on young Scotland Yard inspector Charlie Woodend, returning to his home town to investigate Lilly’s death, was intense. Now, 22 years later, Fred Howerd, the man Woodend arrested, confesses on his deathbed to Father O’Brien that his admission of guilt was a lie. Sergeant Bannerman wants Howerd’s statement looked into, especially because he was Woodend’s sergeant on the Dawson case. So Mid Lancs Chief Constable George Baxter hands Monika Paniatowski, who was Woodend’s sergeant at his retirement, an “unofficial” investigation, pairing her with Scotland Yard’s DCI Tom Hall. Despite his reputation as a hotshot, Hall turns out to be an affable chap who blends well with Paniatowski, DS Beresford and DC Crane, and soon the quartet is sitting snugly at the Drum and Monkey discussing the old case. But things quickly go pear-shaped for Monika. First Howerd’s mate Terry Clegg offers an alibi for the time of Lilly’s abduction. Then Baxter casts doubt on the authenticity of a key piece of evidence. Soon it looks as if even her late father’s Polish cavalry regiment couldn’t save Charlie. Monika has to decide between loyalty to her mentor, to her young colleagues and to her own career.
Shifting seamlessly between past and present versions of the case, Spencer produces a tour de force readers won’t quickly forget.