DCI Monika Paniatowski (Best Served Cold, 2015, etc.) returns with passion from maternity leave.
Trading in her red MGA for a clunky Ford Cortina is just one of the painful sacrifices Monika is ready to make for Thomas and Philip. But just as the cop in her never shrinks from duty, the mom in her must do what’s best for her infant sons. And right now, what’s best is for her to return to work and prove her value to Chief Inspector Clive Barrington and Chief Constable Keith Pickering of the Mid-Lancs Constabulary, who are still concerned about promoting a woman to the rank of chief inspector. Their choice is challenged immediately. Councilor William Danbury, whose wife, Jane, is found bludgeoned to death in their posh home in Milliner’s Row, is a chauvinist of the first order, showering love on his two sons but ignoring his youngest child, Melanie. Even when Melanie disappears from the family home the night of her mother’s murder, it’s not concern for his child that the rich and powerful Danbury shows but rage that Monika, a woman, should be in charge of the case. Hearing Danbury’s dad, Archie, pontificate about the importance of manliness—and seeing evidence that Archie routinely beats his wife, Ethel—helps Monika realize how Danbury’s attitude developed. But his contempt for women only confirms Monika’s opinion that he’s the most likely person to have killed Jane, a view that puts her at odds with the very men who hold her future in their hands.
Although Spencer’s path is a familiar one, she treads it with authority. It’s good to have Monika back, doing what she does best.