The discovery of a body in the yard next door forces Ellie Quicke (Murder by Accident, 2003, etc.) to take a long hard look at her neighborhood, her family, and herself.
Just as widowed Ellie’s next-door neighbors finally plan to do something about their neglected garden, excavators find the skeleton of a young girl where they want to put the water feature. Since the body is over 15 years old and Kate and Armand have lived there less than two, DI Willis presses Ellie to recall all the families who’ve lived next door over the years. She remembers the original owners, Shirley and Donald Chater, who had noisy parties before they moved to Spain; a quiet family of Bosnian refugees; shrieker Jade and her Nigerian boyfriend Aymo, whose neglected children were seized by the state; a man who wore a wig because of cancer, and his wife, who married some New Zealander when he finally died. But she also remembers how her husband Frank chided her for taking too much interest in her neighbors and how her difficult daughter Diana hogged most of her time even as a child. Now that Diana is a mother separated from her husband, Ellie must decide what’s best for little Frank, for son-in-law Stewart, and for Stewart’s new love, Maria, who may be expecting a child of her own.
A fine balance of outer sleuthing and inner delving.