When Charlie Flint is sent a mysterious package of cuttings about a brutal murder, it instantly grabs her attention. The murder occurred in the grounds of her old Oxford college - a groom battered to death just hours after his wedding. As his bride and wedding guests sipped champagne, his alleged killers were slipping his bloodstained body into the river.
Charlie doesn't know who sent the package, or why, yet she can't get the crime out of her head. But as she delves deeper, and steps back into the mysterious world of Oxford colleges, she realises that there is much more to this crime than meets the eye...
In McDermid's crafty stand-alone thriller, psychiatrist Charlotte "Charlie" Flint gives expert testimony at the Leicester murder trial of Bill Hopton that contributes to his acquittal. When Hopton later kills several women, the ensuing uproar leads to Charlie's professional suspension. Eager for distraction, Charlie welcomes the arrival of an envelope from her old Oxford professor, Corinna Newsam. The envelope contains newspaper clippings about the recent murder of businessman Philip Carling, whose body was found on his wedding day at St. Scholastika's, the same Oxford college Charlie attended. Philip's bride was Corinna's daughter, Magda, whom Charlie used to babysit during her Oxford days. Convinced the wrong people are behind bars for Philip's murder, Corinna wants Charlie to investigate the "real" killer: "bestselling misery memoir author" Jennifer "Jay" Macallan Stewart, Corinna's former prot g e and Magda's secret lover, whom Magda believes Corinna despises because of her sexuality. McDermid (Fever of the Bone) once again spins a wonderfully twisted plot that will leave readers guessing until the final reveal.