Steiner’s (Missing, Presumed, 2016, etc.) intrepid, dysfunctional detective, Manon Bradshaw, returns on a case that quickly becomes personal.
When we last saw Manon, she had adopted Fly, an orphan closely related to her last case, and they were moving in with Manon’s sister, Ellie, and her toddler, Solomon, in London. A year or two has passed, and the unlikely family unit has moved back to the familiar world of Cambridgeshire, where Manon is stuck working cold cases—and she’s five months pregnant, having decided to give up the wait for “Mr. Right” and take matters into her own hands. She’s concerned about Fly, now one of the only black kids in the neighborhood, and the fact that he’s 12 going on 20. When a wealthy London banker is found stabbed in nearby Hinchingbrooke Park, Davy and Harriet, Manon’s friends and co-workers, quickly discover that he's Ellie’s ex-boyfriend—and Solomon’s father. But before they can fully investigate this connection, their Chief Superintendent shuts them down and strongly suggests, instead, that they arrest Fly, who's been caught on camera walking through the park at the time of the murder. As in her previous novel, Steiner does not shy away from exploring the racist aspects of the justice system; this only works because she has crafted such complex and believable characters. There is no doubt that Manon is barely making it from day to day, but her heart is always in the right place, and for all her awkwardness, she once again proves to be a great cop—and a fierce mother.
A second adventure that strikes all the right notes—layered mystery, incisive cultural context, and a delightful protagonist who deserves a place alongside other beloved literary detectives.