The disappearance of a young girl launches an investigation that poses a host of challenges for DCI Monika Paniatowski (Lambs to the Slaughter, 2012, etc.).
In her flounced pink dress, Jill Harris couldn’t make plainer how unhappy she is at her Aunt Vanessa’s wedding. But Monika is distracted by Liz Duffy, the new police surgeon, before she can talk to the pouting teenager, who reminds her a bit of her own Louisa. The next day, when Jill’s mother reports her daughter missing, she bitterly regrets the missed chance. Now the comparison between Jill and Louisa can’t be missed, since Louisa was kidnapped briefly only months before. With Chief Constable George Baxter off in Yorkshire investigating the prison suicide of a sex offender, Monika gets assigned the difficult case despite its personal resonance. Knowing that Baxter is likely to pull her off as soon as he returns, she wants to close it fast. Once Jill’s body is found, she presses her team—DI Colin Beresford, DS Kate Meadows and DC Jack Crane—to make an arrest. They nick Bill Horrocks, whose hatred of lesbians is a motive for killing the same-sex–oriented teen. But the discovery of Margaret Hudson, a teenager killed in nearly the same spot as Jill, frees Horrocks from the nick. While Baxter interviews the recalcitrant staff of HM Dunston Prison about the string of violent attacks that preceded Jeremy Templar’s death, Monika grows increasingly worried that her failure to resolve this sensitive case may pose a threat to her career.
Another solid outing for Charlie Woodend’s worthy successor, whose baggage, like her striking European nose, makes her all the more appealing.