In the late summer of 1941, as the war deepens, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Lamb must risk his life to sort out the links between a series of killings—past and present—in a Hampshire village brimming with buried secrets.In the late summer of 1941, as the war in Europe drags on, long-buried secrets begin to surface in the Hampshire village of Winstead, when the body of a young woman – a former conscientious objector - is found shot to death in the church cemetery. The woman’s only connection to Winstead seems to be that she lately had joined a group of conscripted workers who are building a prisoner of war camp on an abandoned farm near the village. But Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Lamb, who is called in to solve the case, has his doubts.
The mystery deepens when workers at the farm find the remains of a child in the foundation of the old farmhouse, and a tramp who had been squatting in the wood near the church turns up dead. Lamb soon begins to suspect that the crimes might be related to a tragic event that occurred in Winstead more than twenty years earlier – the suicide of a village woman who took her life in despair after her husband abandoned her and took their young twin sons with him. As Lamb pieces together the connections between the crimes, he draws closer to the source of evil in Winstead’s past and present and, in the end, must risk his own life to uncover the truth.
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The body count keeps going and going… My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, and Maia Larson, for my advance reading copy of this book. You ladies rock! Possible SPOILERS but I try very hard to reveal nothing that cannot be read in the first several pages of the book. But you have been WARNED… Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Lamb is back in the second book of this series! With WWII raging and almost all available people conscripted into the army, the police departments of Great Britain are running with a skeleton crew. Worried that his 19 year old daughter Vera may be the next to be drafted, Lamb takes advantage of a sprained ankle to have her installed into the police force as a driver and constable—although he really has no intention to allow her to act as a Constable. So of course a new murder case opens almost at once. The deceased is a young woman working as a conscript in the Women’s Land Army. Ruth Aisquith was assigned to a group building a prison camp for Italian POWs. Now she lies dead in the graveyard at Winstead, shot in the back at close range. And sadly, witnesses to the death are strangely inconsistent in their stories of how the body was discovered… And then the conscripts digging at the farm where the prison camp is being constructed dig up the skull of a murdered child… The story moves at a fast clip while managing to detail of the pieces that will come together to complete this puzzle. There is the abandoned house where a woman hanged herself. Lawrence Tigue, local chairman of the parish civil council used to live at the farm where the skull is discovered with his mother and brother. There are various plots between the people in the town which may have an effect on the crime. And the precocious little girl we meet in chapter one does her nighttime spying throughout the tale! There is something magical about the way the different threads of the case wind through the story! I feel that the reader will be held spellbound until the very end! I give this book five stars! Quoth the Raven...