Calder Moor is a wild and deadly place: many have been trapped in the myriad limestone caves, lost in collapsed copper mines, injured on perilous gritstone ridges. But this time, when two bodies are discovered in the shadow of the ancient circle of stones known as Nine Sisters Henge, it is clearly not a case for Mountain Rescue. The corpses are those of a young man and woman. Each met death in a different fashion. Each died violently.
To Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, brought in to investigate by special request, this grisly crime promises to be one of the toughest assignments of his career. For the unfortunate Nicola Maiden was the daughter of a former officer in an elite undercover unit, a man Lynley once regarded as a mentor. Now, as Lynley struggles to find out if Nicola's killer was an enemy of her father's or one she earned herself, a disgraced Barbara Havers, determined to redeem herself in the eyes of her longtime partner, crisscrosses London seeking information on the second murder victim.
Yet the more dark secrets Lynley and Havers uncover, the more they learn that neither the victims nor the suspects are who they appear to be. And once again they come up against the icy realization that human relationships are often murderous...and that the blood that binds can also kill.
Selfish children grow up to betray their parents in bestselling author George's latest suspense novel, which opens with David King-Ryder, a renowned Andrew Lloyd Webber-like British musical writer/producer, committing suicide on the eve of his successful comeback. How his untimely death ties in with a double homicide in the Derbyshire countryside showcases George's brilliance in concocting an intricate, swiftly paced tale that brings back the popular New Scotland Yard team of detectives Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers. Newly married Detective Inspector Lynley takes the case at the request of Andy Maiden, a former colleague who made his name as a notable undercover agent. Maiden's headstrong daughter Nicola is one of the murder victims, and when her choice to forgo a law career to become a professional dominatrix is painstakingly unearthed by the estimable detectives, Maiden, among others, becomes a prime suspect, as do Nicola's blue-blooded boyfriend, Julian Britton, and his jealous cousin, Samantha McCallin. George spices up the investigation with a side plot about Lynley and Havers's relationship, now complicated since Havers is facing demotion and disciplinary suspension for her insubordination during a previous assignment. When the redoubtable Havers links the second murder victim, Terry Cole--a struggling artist who turns out to be a get-rich-quick schemer--to the dead composer King-Ryder, Lynley dismisses his former partner's intuitive leaps and the two sleuths lock horns. George builds plausible motives for all of the suspects while simultaneously revealing the private lives of her admirable detectives with an engaging mix of subtlety and bravado. The multifaceted surprise ending to the taut, suspenseful plot is the juiciest plum in this can't-put-down novel.