Oxford private detective Zoë Boehm turns up dead in Newcastle, launching her friend Sarah Tucker into an investigation with several leads—but no one she can trust.
When a body is hauled from the River Tyne, Sarah Tucker heads to Newcastle for a closer look. She identifies the dead woman as private detective Zoë Boehm, but putting a name to the corpse only raises further questions. Did Zoë kill herself, or did one of her old cases come back to haunt her? Why was she wearing the jacket a murderer had stolen years before? And what’s brought Sarah’s former sparring partner Gerard Inchon to the same broken-down hotel where she’s staying? Coincidence is an excuse that soon appears pretty unconvincing. Sarah can’t leave until she’s found the answers to her questions, however dangerous they might turn out to be.
In this assured mystery from British author Herron (Reconstruction), Sarah Tucker, a freelance publisher who also raises ostriches, identifies a body dredged from the River Tyne in Newcastle as her friend Zo Boehm, an apparent suicide. Tucker, however, doubts Boehm, who worked as a private investigator, took her own life, as the police believe. Instead, Tucker suspects that Boehm's demise was connected with her probes into Alan Talmadge, a creep who targeted middle-aged women and killed them in a way that looked like accident or suicide. Relying on her wits, Tucker takes over the search for Talmadge. She looks into a number of people of interest who were in Newcastle at the time of Boehm's death, including a gangster's son and a prominent businessman. While the climax won't surprise every reader, Herron does a nice job of planting red herrings and making his heroine's amateur sleuthing plausible.