I love Vera Stanhope, cranky old broad and DCI.
In her latest outing, Vera drives home while a blizzard rages. After taking the wrong turn – that happens to be the road to her ancestral home – she comes across a car blocking the road, mired in the snow. The driver’s door is open, and there’s a baby in a carseat in the back, but the driver is missing. As the snow continues to fall, Vera takes the child into her car, leaves a note on the car, and carries on to said ancestral home, knocking on the door to seek harbor from the storm, and in the process seeing relatives she hasn’t seen in quite a long time.
When a young woman’s body is found on the property, it’s clear the woman is likely the mother of the child, and that the people in the house (both er relatives and the dinner guests they are hosting) probably know more about the woman than they let on.
The investigation is then off, with no shortage of suspects and Vera and her team wringing information out of people and chasing down leads and connections, no matter how slim they may appear.
We get more background on Harold, Vera’s father and black sheep of the Stanhope family, and more insight into how Vera views the familial tree (spoiler: she’s not into having to put on the facade of genteel landowner, benificent landlord). I believe these short interludes were both worthy of inclusion to the story and not disruptive to the narrative. Well done on that.
As Vera and her team put together the puzzle of circumstances, the perpetrator becomes more violent and aggressive, and the final showdown is a lulu.
Highly recommended. Five out of five stars.
Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the review copy (which was approved after I’d already bought it ).