Gird your loins, faithful readers (literally – gird them), because this mystery will throw you in a martini shaker and jumble you up.
In a good way.
Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Smith is charged with investigating the murder of Polly, a young, vivacious woman working at a local horse farm.
Oh, sure, she was sleeping with most of the town. In fact, you sort of get the impression that Louisa is the only one who didn’t have sex with the deceased. Polly, you see, is non-discriminatory when it comes to the sexy times. Male? Female? Doesn’t matter. All you’ve got to be is open to having some fun.
As Louisa’s investigation delves into the crime, she discovers that Polly might have had a few people who weren’t too thrilled with her. Jealous spouses, hurt exes, and even a crime lord – any of them had a reason to do Polly in.
Assisting Louisa are two men, each as intrigued with Louisa as they are the murder: Andy, an investigator Louisa has worked with and with whom she had a fling – and would have continued having said fling, except for Andy being married and all, and Jason, a Canadian assigned to help analyze data and information. Lou is drawn to Jason, and even still a bit drawn to Andy.
Her investigation begins to uncover that there is a whole lot of spanky panky going on in the tiny little village of Morden, and Polly might have been involved. But is sex a reason to kill someone?
This is a delicious mystery, taking you from interrogation rooms to bedrooms. There is sex, there is murder, and there is even some human trafficking.
If it sounds like too much is going on, that is not the case at all. Haynes’ pacing is brisk and uncomplicated; the novel unfolds over the course of six days, and Haynes keeps us on task by using military time to check in with what’s happening and when. There are a lot of characters, but each has his or her own persona. You won’t get people confused.
Louisa’s love life is not the focal point, but it does play a role in the story. Louisa was hurt by Andy, and she’s a bit worried that she could be hurt by Jason. Is he all he appears to be, or will he disappoint her too? Jason is the least developed character here, and I suspect that’s largely on purpose. We are meant to wonder along with Louisa about him. We don’t want her to wind up in another Andy situation. Ah, Andy. He’s … interesting. He’s an unrepentant cheater, and he manages to justify his infidelity with all the aplomb of a seven-year-old sneaking a cookie when Mommy isn’t looking.
As for whodunit, let’s just say that hints are dropped, so while you may not be stunned at the “who,” the “why” might surprise you.
I enjoyed this book and could not put it down.