This mystery starts with Rebecca, the vicar’s wife, wandering around a foggy cemetery, hoisting her glass of pinot noir and visiting the angel which sits atop a tomb. As she is having her drunken talk with the angel, she spots the body of a schoolgirl. That would be a horrific surprise if you were sober, never mind in an inebriated state. Rebecca has her own issues with her husband, her home life and an affair with a local teacher. All of those troubles are woven into this mystery and investigation of sixteen-year-old Deborah Harrison’s murder.
The day before, Deborah and her friend Megan are walking home in the fog. They part ways near a bridge where Deborah takes a shortcut home through the cemetery. Megan thinks she saw the shadowy figure of a man behind Deborah but the fog was so thick, she can’t be sure. That was the last time Deborah was seen alive.
Since Deborah was the daughter of a wealthy and influential man the pressure is on to solve this case as soon as possible. A new detective inspector, Barry Stott, gets a lead early on in this investigation and is hot on the trail of the suspected killer. There are certainly other suspects and factors involved in this homicide and DCI Banks isn’t ready to pin the rap on the first suspect.
Banks examines all the other possibilities and factors uncovered during this case. There is a vicar, accused of sexually harassing a refugee worker, who lies about his whereabouts at the time of the murder; Rebecca, his cheating wife and the schoolteacher who is her lover. There is also the accused, Owen Pierce, who has a very spiteful ex and a teen boy who was Deborah’s former boy toy. He previously threatened Deborah’s family and tried to blackmail them.
Lots of action in this one and as always, Peter Robinson delivers with an ending you don’t figure out until the last pages.
Food wise we have many offerings. What would a DCI Banks story be without that lumbering Sgt Hatchley eating and drinking his way across the Dales?
“Alf! Over here mate. Let’s have a bit of service. A person could die of thirst.”
If there were a landlord Hatchley didn’t know by name in all of Eastvale – nay, all of Swainsdale – Stott would have been surprised.
Stott ordered a ham and cheese sandwich and cup of tea. Hatchley ordered: “I’ll have one of those bloody great big Yorkshire puddings full of roast beef, peas and gravy. And a pint of bitter, of course”
Banks and DC Susan Gay meet a potential character witness at an Italian restaurant. After much study and consultation, Banks decided on the gourmet pizza with goat cheese, olives and sun-dried tomatoes and Italian sausage. Susan ordered cannelloni and Michelle ordered linguine with clam sauce. They also had wine.
There were also the working pub lunches with Cornish pasties with gravy and chips, Scotch eggs and the usual pints of ale and bitters. Reading these books always makes me want a vacation in England.
So many of those goodies I would love to eat, especially sitting down at a pub lunch.
Since it’s a British author I thought I would go with a British chef.
Nigel Slater’s Pork and Fig dinner was excellent. Next time I would use less fig but more fig jam. The jam was phenomenal on those chops. Recipe may be found at Squirrel Head Manor.
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This book was also on my list for British Books Challenge