- By Reginald Hill
- First published: UK: Collins, 1992; US: Delacorte, 1992
A rich and immensely satisfying story, embracing both the past and present. A new enquiry headed by the Ministry of Intelligence reopens the investigation into the murder of Mrs. Westropp at Mickledore Hall in 1963. Sir Ralph Mickledore and his lover Cissy Kohler were arrested by Dalziel’s mentor (since deceased), whom the investigation accuses of corruption—and with him, Dalziel. The fat man is in good form, especially when he takes on the American government single-handed. Pascoe is not, spending too much time in pointless introspection after the events of Bones and Silence and his growing estrangement from Ellie, who blames him for the suicide. Espionage and political scandal (on both sides of the Atlantic, and both treasonable and sexual in nature) are integral to the complex plot—so complex, in fact, that the reader is left in obscurity for most of the book; yet all is cleared up by the end, when multiple solutions explode in the best style.