A wild tale by an untrustworthy witness sets Kinsey Millhone (T Is for Trespass, 2007, etc.) on the track of a stone-cold case.
An article on famous kidnappings has jogged Michael Sutton to recall something that happened on his sixth birthday in July 1967. Playing at a friend’s house in Horton Ravine, he tells Kinsey nearly 21 years later, Sutton saw two men burying something he’s now convinced was the body of Mary Claire Fitzhugh, a kidnapped 12-year-old who was never restored to her parents, even though they paid the paltry ransom demand. Sutton doesn’t remember the exact location of the house or even the name of the friend, but Kinsey agrees to take a day’s pay to check out his story. Even within a day, she gets results, and soon the Santa Teresa canine unit is sniffing around an unmarked grave. Unfortunately, the buried remains aren’t those of Mary Claire Fitzhugh. Worse, mounting evidence indicates that there’s good reason to doubt Sutton’s memory. As Kinsey struggles with the case, distracted by the latest overtures from the family that abandoned her long ago, the puzzle is obligingly, if gradually, resolved by a long series of interspersed flashbacks to the summer of 1967, when four families—Patrick and Deborah Unruh, their rebellious son and his common-law wife; veterinarian Walter McNally and his son Walker; professor Lionel Corso and his son Jon; and Kip and Annabelle Sutton, the parents Kinsey’s client once accused of molesting him—were launched on a collision course.
Short on mystery, but rewardingly sensitive in teasing out the shock waves that reached from the Summer of Love to the heart of Santa Teresa.