Dunne, Nov 27 2007, $23.95
In spite of the fury and noise of the horrific gale, farmer’s wife Connie Barton hears what she assumes is something blown loose by the storm. She wakes up her husband Ned who grumpily listens and says it is Mr. Frederick Hoad’s stable door. Knowing she will not allow him to go back to sleep, he grumblingly steps out into the torrent to simply shut the door tight. Instead of finding a bar to shut the door, he finds the naked body of Jennifer Hoad. The Bartons call the police who also find Frederick, their ten years old daughter Angela and an unknown school friend dead in the manor house. Their sixteen years old son Daniel is missing.
Superintendent Mike Yeadings of Thames Valley leads the investigation. The police contact the only known living relative the teen’s maternal grandmother, retired air force officer Anna Plumley, who was estranged from her daughter Jennifer. Although Anna is a suspect, she offers much insight into the Hoad and Plumley families. Her forthright responses leads Detective Sergeant Rosemary “Z” Zynzynski to believe the veteran is not involved in the killings, but Detective Sergeant Beaumont and Detective Chief Inspector Salmon refuse to rule her out as no one except perhaps the missing adolescent or the away housekeeper seem likely.
THE EDGE is a fabulous Thames Valley police procedural as the prime police players are fully developed so that newcomers will understand what makes each tick while veterans will nod as each remains consistent. The extra strength to the whodunit is brought by an excellent key cast member, Anna who understands official investigations from her military days; readers will wonder if she is killer or a grieving relative seeking justice as her cooperation may be to throw the police off the trail or help them hone in on the culprit. Clare Curzon provides a terrific entry in her long running series with the freshness caused by Anna.