“Where do we go from here, sir?”
“That you may well ask, Crosby.” Sloan was irritable and preoccupied as they walked away from Boundary Cottage. “All we’ve got so far is a girl who isn’t who she thinks she is, the body of a woman who probably wasn’t what she said she was and two photographs.”
At first glance, the death of Grace Jenkins seems like a tragic hit-and-run accident. Larking is a quiet English village…what more could it have been? But something is off about the case, and Inspector Sloan from the Berebury Police Station is called to the village to investigate. Soon, the woman’s daughter, Henrietta, arrives to identify the body and the medical examiner reveals that Grace Jenkins could not possibly be her mother—the autopsy has revealed Grace Jenkins never gave birth to a child. Baffled by this turn of events, Sloan searches for the answer to two questions: Why did Grace Jenkins lie about Henrietta’s lineage? And who killed her to keep the truth buried?
- Aird injects a delightfully wry sense of humor into the story, usually in Henrietta’s remarks regarding her sudden situation or in Sloan’s interactions with the somewhat oblivious constable assisting him.
This is a quickly read mystery, perhaps due to the hefty amount of dialogue moving the plot forward. Much of the novel is, in fact, dialogue between characters. There is little character development and any scenery is only succinctly noted. Yet this light little mystery packs a punch in the plot department. Motive can be guessed fairly early in the story; the who and the how are what pull the reader to the end. This reissue of the second book in the Detective Inspector C.D. Sloan series, which began in the late 1960s, is refreshingly free of modern day trappings. Nothing but good ol’ fashioned detective work on these pages. Overall, this fun whodunit is perfect for a lazy afternoon’s entertainment.