A man cleared of murder charges returns to his British Columbia hometown to get some answers.
Walter Desmond spent 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. It seems clear that the police in Trafalgar hid evidence that would have exonerated him. Desmond just wants to know why. His lawyer is suing the province for $5 million, and the Trafalgar force, most of whom weren’t there when the murder occurred, are instructed to treat Desmond as any ordinary citizen. Sgt. John Winters is given the cold case. When he and Chief Constable Paul Keller pay a visit to the family of the victim, Sophia D’Angelo, they find them embittered and still convinced that Desmond is guilty despite all the evidence to the contrary. The town is deeply divided, and the one remaining police officer from that time—another is retired and lives nearby—won’t believe that his friends railroaded Desmond. Constable Molly Smith, whose mother, Lucky, still retains her 1960s ideals even though she’s the unlikely partner of Paul Keller, must confront at least one fellow officer who’s hassling Desmond. Helped in part by a sympathetic woman staying at his B&B who’s visiting the popular tourist town with her dragon boat crew, Desmond stoically puts up with the verbal abuse. As Winters delves into the past, cracks appear both in the evidence and in the perception of Sophia, who was not the quiet, obedient young woman her family and friends described but a sneaky hell-raiser who tormented her younger brother and pulled the wool over her doting parents’ eyes. Winters and Smith face hostility, and Desmond receives threats as well, as they work to find the truth.
Delany’s excellent new procedural (Under Cold Stone, 2014, etc.) is a real page-turner, ratcheting up the tension as each secret from the past is painfully revealed.