Who’s been sleeping in her bed?
Ray Proctor’s wife Carol got around. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death in Mansell Quinn’s house, it’s assumed he killed his lover. His wife, Rebecca, and their kids, Andrea and Simon, change their name to Lowe and move out; his drinking buddies, Will Thorpe and the cuckolded Ray, fail to support his alibi. After confessing, Quinn goes off to Sudbury Prison until his release 13 years later, when the Derbyshire CID—DS Diane Fry in charge, with the grunt work done by DC Ben Cooper (Dancing with the Virgins, 2001, etc.), whose late father first arrested Quinn—warn interested parties that he may come gunning for them. Soon enough, Rebecca Lowe dies; Simon is bashed; Thorpe comes to an ignominious end; and a crossbow goes missing from Proctor’s lock box at his caravan park. Further, there are myths—maybe more than myths—about cadavers surfacing in the bends of the Peak Caverns. Cooper wrestles with his father’s heroic reputation while two other sons of disputed parentage antagonize their dads and Fry grapples with her own familial problems, including a sister recovering from heroin addiction. A rapprochement, a near-escape and a final interrogation of a son close Cooper and Fry’s fifth case.
Elizabeth George fans will queue up for this one. It’s suitably wordy; its continuing characters have uneasy relationships and secretive pasts; and it raises melodrama to middlebrow art.