When two young males are found dead; one in a hot, sun-scorched English valley, and one in Austria, it’s up to DCI Mark Morgan from Hipton, England, together with Chief Inspector Zweig, from Mayrhofen, Austria, to solve what is suspected to be a double murder.
The case progresses agonisingly slowly, with precious little to go on, until a letter is discovered in the attic of a house in the small Austrian village of Schwendau. Could this letter hold a clue about the deaths of the two young men?
What at first seems to be a simple communication is eventually discovered to be something much more than that - it is a voice from the past, a letter that hints at a very dark time during the Second World War. With references to Himmler and concentration camps, the un-posted letter divides opinion among the investigating force, causing them to consider whether it is just a distraction for Morgan and Zweig, or whether it is crucial evidence in their quest to track down the killer.
As time moves on, the case is beset by complications, a third murder back on English soil forces Mark Morgan to push the investigation further. The case quickly goes from being an intriguing puzzle to a complex series of problems that need to be solved in a race against time, with the threat of the killer striking again in the forefront of every officer’s mind.
On the home front, Mark Morgan has problems of his own. His relationships seem to be taking a nosedive out of all control as shocking news about his father comes to light and his brother is off to Russia for who knows how long, sending the family into confusion.
This novel can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story in its own right with a dramatic plot, full of complex twists and turns, or it can be read as a sequel to ‘The Quiet Deaths’ where the central characters are introduced; chiefly DCI Mark Morgan and his family and friends.
As in the first book, there are plenty of back stories where the reader can find out what’s new in the lives of the central characters. There is a lot of humour in the novel for the reader to enjoy, despite the dark tone of much of the main plot.
The novel will leave readers with a lot to think about, especially in the context of war, family, trust and loyalty and raises some thorny issues to grapple with.