The family of a celebrated young pianist that’s betaken itself to Alex Duggins’ Cotswolds village over the pianist’s strenuous objections must add sudden death to its other woes.
How do you get to Wigmore Hall? Practice, practice, practice. That’s all Elyan Quillam, 18, hears from his bullying stepfather, Percy Quillam, who’s dedicated his life to making his second wife’s son famous and miserable. The refrain is echoed by Sebastian Carstens, Elyan’s teacher; by Wells Giglio, his agent; and, in a minor key, by Sonia Quillam, the mother who gave up a promising career as an orchestral violinist to marry Percy. Given all this single-minded pressure, it’s no wonder that Elyan’s stepsister, Laura, gets lost in the shuffle, with nary an encouraging word about the blues singing she loves so much. The drama is intensified by Percy’s news that he’s rented Green Friday, a house in Folly-on-Weir, uprooting both his children from their support network in London. After a prologue setting the stage by detailing all these developments, both the characters and the story seem to go into cardiac arrest when the scene shifts to the Cotswolds. Alex Duggins, a graphic artist who owns the local pub, the Black Dog, is delighted to hear an unknown woman’s voice singing the blues inside St. Anselm’s, but her pleasure turns to horror when she discovers Laura Quillam’s body inside the church soon after the music has ended. Unfortunately, following Alex (Out Comes the Evil, 2015, etc.) as she draws out the newcomers is a lot less interesting than following the Quillams firsthand, and the only way Cameron develops the plot is by offering another unexpected fatality.
As for the heroine's sleuthing prowess, the man who loves her puts it best: “You haven’t done all that much, but you do show up whenever something’s happening.”