“What'll it be today? A knotty puzzle mystery? A fast-paced police procedural? Something more high-toned, with a bit of wit? With the British author Peter Lovesey, there's no need to make those agonizing decisions, because his books have it all.” —The New York Times Book Review
In a Sussex town on the south coast of England, a widely disliked art teacher at a posh private girls’ school disappears without explanation. None of her students miss her boring lessons, especially since her replacement is a devilishly hunky male teacher with a fancy car. But then her name shows up on a police missing persons list. What happened to Miss Gibbon, and why does no one seem to care?
Peter Diamond has been sent to Sussex on a Home Office internal investigation to look into breach of conduct by a fellow police officer—a failure to process DNA evidence related to a cold case. As he asks questions, he begins to notice unsettling connections between the cold case and the missing art teacher. Could the two mysteries be connected? How many other area disappearances have gone unnoticed and uninvestigated? Diamond and his hapless supervisor have stumbled into a web of related crimes. Will Diamond be able to disentangle them?
In Lovesey's less-than-inspired 15th Peter Diamond whodunit (after 2014's The Stone Wife), the chief superintendent's annoying and clueless boss, Asst. Chief Constable Georgina Dallymore, asks him to partner with her on a sensitive internal investigation. The Chichester CID is under a cloud after a senior officer, who turns out to be an old friend of Diamond's, is accused of allowing personal feelings to affect a homicide inquiry. In 2007, Danny Stapleton was charged with murder after he was found driving a stolen car with a corpse in the trunk. But DNA evidence indicates that the investigating officer's niece was in the vehicle as well, though that lead was never pursued. Early on, Diamond suspects that another agenda is at work in assigning Dallymore to the case. In a subplot, an art teacher goes missing from a Sussex girls' school. The byplay between Diamond and Dallymore compensates for a mystery that's not one of the series' best.