A chance sighting in a café in Amsterdam gives solicitor Rosa Epton an unwelcome shock. At a nearby table sits an ex-client who should be behind bars, having recently been sentenced to five years in prison. So what is Eddie Ruding doing in Amsterdam a few weeks later?
On her return to England, Rosa makes a few discreet enquiries, only to draw a blank. But just as she has decided to try to put the matter out of her mind, a newspaper report shocks her into action. Eddie Ruding has been found dead, his crumpled body lying at the foot of the walls of Wandsworth Prison.
Rosa, however, is not the only person on the dead man's trail. Everyone from inquisitive journalists to MI5 appears to be taking an interest - and none so much as the dead man's mother, a cockney matriarch with a score to settle.
In this latest Rosa Epton mystery, the barrister and her lover, Peter Chen, become involved with Britain's Security Service. Rosa sees former client Eddie Ruding in Amsterdam when he is supposed to be in an English prison after a burglary conviction. Shortly thereafter, an attempt is made on her life and Ruding is found murdered outside a prison, but not the one in which he had been incarcerated. Rosa learns that Ruding, who had alleged that he had entered the burgled premises at the behest of MI5, had been released and had disappeared. Egged on by the dead man's colorful cockney mother, Rosa and Peter begin looking into the Ruding's final activities. The murder of an informer, whose body is placed on the burglar's grave; the disappearance of Ruding's prosperous and probably criminal childhood friend; and the attempts of the Security Services case officer to vindicate himself add confusion to the case. Underwood's ( Rosa's Dilemma ) addition to her solid series offers insights into a barrister's daily life, but remains rather stodgy throughout.