When a body is found floating in the Thames river lock one damp and dreary morning, Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James are summoned from Scotland Yard to the Chiltern Hills outside London. The dead man is Connor Swann, son-in-law of London’s most renowned opera personalities. And prints on his neck suggest that Swann was strangled.
As Duncan and Gemma explore the quiet woods above the Thames and the flamboyant world of London opera in search of answers, they discover a tangled web of family secrets and hidden emotions. And when Duncan finds himself dangerously drawn to a suspect, he and Gemma must sort out their complicated feelings for one another…
Crombie's Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his sergeant Gemma Jones make a welcome return, after All Shall Be Well, to investigate a suspicious drowning in the countryside outside London. The seemingly placid domestic life of distinguished conductor Sir Gerald Asherton and his wife, Dame Caroline Stowe, a renowned soprano, is disturbed when their son-in-law's body slips through the local lock and is dragged up to reveal suspicious bruises around the neck. The Ashertons' daughter Julia had recently left Connor, who was ``on good terms with pints and ponies.'' While her parents continued to lunch weekly with the victim in their stately home, Julia, who 20 years earlier had witnessed her little brother's death by drowning, has had nothing to do with him. The youthful, slightly rumpled Kincaid, his pleasant manner masking a keen intelligence, and the equally insightful, appealing Jones make little pretense that police work is objective, detached business. Occasionally Crombie lets their personal feelings-Kincaid's for the widow, Jones's for opera, and both for each other-outweigh the story. Nonetheless, the passages of the first drowning are haunting, the mystery is intriguing, the characters are well developed and the solution satisfies. Stay tuned. Author tour.