An all-expense-paid holiday on the Isle of Man seems just the ticket to get a detective chief inspector back in shape after he’s stabbed while trying to prevent a mugging.
Bill Caxton, brother of the lady who was mugged, puts DCI Roger Hayes up in one of the properties he owns and treats him to meals and rehab at his spa. Caxton has an ulterior motive. There’ve been a series of muggings and a death on the usually quiet island, and all the victims have some association with Caxton’s hotel and spa. Hayes agrees to look into the case, which has languished in the hands of the local plods. He’s not sorry to stay on because he’s become attracted to DeeDee Miller, a talented chanteuse, and friendly with the musicians sharing his short-term home. A little sleuthing dredges up several unsavory activities linked to the hotel, especially private sex parties where drugs are readily available. Because Hayes has concealed his official status, and DeeDee is angry, then intrigued, when she finds him out. Her nosiness leads to her death by drowning. Hayes, who had been teaching her to swim, feels guilty. Certain her death was no accident, he reveals his identity to the island police, who grudgingly accept his inside information and let him help solve the case.
Armstrong (Smile Now, Die Later, 2003, etc.) presents an interesting cast, but the ending is a bit of a letdown.