In February 1915, the Great War is still raging on the Western Front, but in Westminster, at the centre of Hardcastle's bailiwick, a policeman is shot dead. At first, Hardcastle believes the murderer to have been a disturbed burglar.
But as enquiries continue, attention focuses on an antiquarian bookseller, a struggling artist, a reporter, officers of the Royal Flying Corps, both in England and in France, and the activities of Isabel Plowman, the wife of one of them and the lover of others.
Set against the backdrop of WWI, Graham Ison's fourth Inspector Hardcastle mystery finds the titular detective wading through the murk of two seemingly unrelated murders; those of a low-ranking police officer and the wife of a pilot she claims was killed on the battlefield but who miraculously turns up unscathed and throws a wrench into Hardcastle's investigation.
David Thorpe adroitly captures the dry British humor of Ison's prose as well as the indomitable Hardcastle's brusque rasp and no-nonsense attitude in this compelling police procedural.
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