A long-serving procedural hero faces health challenges that make him question his future with the police.
In a surprising and dark series turn, Hill opens with DCI Simon Serrailler (The Soul of Discretion, 2015, etc.) hospitalized from his latest case and trying desperately to recover. True to her emphasis on realistic consequences, Hill doesn’t make Simon’s convalescence easy: His world is forever changed. Unsure about his future with the Lafferton police department in spite of the passage of a significant period of time and the encouraging words of his supervisor, Chief Kieron Bright, Simon goes to mull and heal on the remote Scottish island of Taransay. While he’s there, he agrees to do some cold-case work for Kieron, who’s not just his chief, but now also his brother-in-law, having married Simon’s sister, Dr. Cat Deerbon, during Simon’s hospitalization and recovery. Kieron asks Simon to investigate the murder of Kimberley, the daughter of Marion Still, who was likely killed by a repeat offender imprisoned for life. Doing administrative work doesn’t restore Simon to his old self but does help remind him of his unique skill set, which comes in handy when a member of the small island community suddenly dies under mysterious circumstances. Back in Lafferton, Cat and Kieron adjust to married life while Cat considers relieving the stress of her job by doing private health work, a tempting move her deceased first husband would certainly have objected to. The honeymoon ends with a crash when Cat and Simon’s irascible father, Richard, shows up with a health scare of his own.
Hill continues to split her focus between exploring procedural conventions and showing her hero as he builds a family, emphasizing his development over his caseload.