This is the latest in a really good Crime Fiction Series. DI Thomas Ridpath is not your stereotypical fictional cop. He is a family man who is really good at what he does and is well liked amongst his peers. Where he is different is that he is a cancer patient in remission. With Senior Officers in the Police worried about his health when he returned to work, he has been temporarily deployed to Manchester’s Coroner as a Coroner’s Investigator.
This has given M.J Lee lots of leeway to put Ridpath into situations not usually encountered by Police Officers as he investigates how people have died. However in this book the streams are crossed and Ridpath finds himself right at the front of a murder investigation, and this time he will not be Mr Popular.
The death of a Chinese woman in a detention centre, the day before she is due to be deported, is found to be a case of suicide by the Police Officer who carries out the investigation.
The Coroner is not convinced. It’s the latest in a line of deaths in detention centres across the country, most of which have been recorded as suicide. This one has happened in Manchester, and there is no way the Coroner is going to let it slip by without proper investigation, and she tasks Ridpath with taking a second look at the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death.
Ridpath soon finds out that the Police Investigation was slipshod at best. Unfortunately, for him, it was carried out by a popular Detective Sergeant who is 3 months from retirement and stands to lose his pension if Ridpath is correct in his theory that the woman was murdered.
The discovery of another body only adds credibility to Ridpath’s hypothesis and he is “invited” to lead the investigations into both deaths as part of the MIT.
The Coroner has made it impossible to carry out a deep investigation as she refuses to put back the date of the inquest, giving Ridpath less than a week to gather the evidence he needs to establish the woman was murdered and, if so identify the killer.
Meanwhile, understandably, Ridpath is working every hour available and his family are worried about the effects on his health.
This is a great book. In effect it starts as a “locked-room-mystery” but soon develops into something much more sinister.
At the end of the book Ridpath is left with a decision to make. I, for one, can’t wait to read the next book to see what he has decided.
Publishing Date: 7th May 2020