The disappearance of a small boy disorders the lives of many people.
DCI Simon Serrailler (The Various Haunts of Man, 2007, etc.) is recalled from his Venetian sketching holiday by his father. His younger sister Martha, physically and mentally challenged from birth, is dying. Martha recovers only to die suddenly in her sleep, leaving Simon bereft. A triplet and a policeman in a family of doctors, he is slowly recovering from the murder of a young woman he may have loved. His attention shifts when a young boy goes missing while waiting for his ride to school. The whole force work night and day searching for a lead. Lack of progress and internal pressures cause the boy’s father to commit suicide and leave his mother in a trance, alternating between rage and despair, while ignoring his older sister. Simon’s beloved physician sister Cat has recently given birth. He finds her cozy home a haven of peace until she tackles him about his treatment of women after receiving a visit from the ex-lover who’s stalking him, desperate to understand why Simon ended their affair. The stresses on artistic, introspective Simon, who’s obviously modeled on Adam Dalgleish, mount as his team continues to search for the boy they fear is dead while pursuing their other cases.
A gripping and unusual procedural focusing more on the characters’ complex lives than the crimes. A must-read.