A neophyte p.i. returns to Oxford and gets the blues.
Never mind those hallowed halls or those ivy-covered walls. Samantha Falconer hates the place, always has, and knows deep down she never should have taken the case that brought her back there. The wife of John O’Connor, prominent Oxford shrink, has gone missing. Expected at the school to pick up her two kids, normally dutiful Meg O’Connor never showed. No one knows what happened to her, or so they say. The husband she left behind is frantic, or so he says. The cops, on the other hand, profess themselves skeptical. So bereft O’Connor appeals to inexperienced Sam mostly because Sam’s brother is an Oxford professor and a friend. Sam takes the case because her fledgling investigation firm is about as far from solvency as the Pinkertons are from indigence. But why does Sam hate Oxford so much? Her mother and stepfather neither understood nor loved her sufficiently, she claims at length. Be that as it may, sour Sam—still “hopeless with friends” at 32—is one alienated young woman, and if that, indeed, is the stuff of reader empathy, Blake hasn’t proved it here.
Negligible mystery, by-the-numbers plotting and altogether little to warrant interest in a dour, derivative debut.