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Rafferty and Llewellyn (Death Dance, 2010, etc.) threaten to bust the Elmhurst CID's budget as they comb the country for clues to the murder of a former rugby star.
Adam Ainsley had been quite the big man on campus at his prestigious private school. So it should be a rare treat that he shows up at the Griffin School's annual reunion. Only somebody treats him to a dose of hemlock, and DI Joe Rafferty has the perfect excuse to escape Cyrus, Wendy, Angel and Louis, the distant American cousins his ma has quartered with him and his new wife Abra as part of an international gathering of the Rafferty clan. To his partner DS Dafyd Llewellyn's dismay, Rafferty runs up travel expenses galore, driving to Suffolk to interview the deceased's parents and to Somerset to speak to his ex-wives. He makes multiple junkets to London to see ex-classmates Giles Harmsworth, Sebastian Kennedy and Simon Fairweather. (His only regret is that Gary Sadiq is in London, too, saving his boss, Supt. Bradley, from paying for a trip to Sadiq's native India.) In Cambridge, fellow alum Victoria Watson has little enough to say, but a visit to Alice Douglas in Norwich turns up an unexpected daughter who's just the right age to have been the legacy of one of the many conquests of Adam's school days. As the mileage accumulates, Rafferty seems to be making no headway in figuring out who took Ainsley out of the scrum. And by leaving Abra alone with voluble Cyrus, Joe risks a second reunion-centered murder a lot closer to home.
Readers are liable to find themselves on the side of Rafferty's despised super: It just takes him too darn long to solve this one.