Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Case of the Forsaken Child (Inspector David Graham #7), by Alison Golden

Alison Golden, November 2020

DI David Graham and the Gorey Constabulary are in the midst of a big event for them--hosting a national police conference. It's a lot of work, with DS Janice Harding a co-organizer of it. It's a chance for Harding and others to shine for a wider audience. And it's a chance for Graham to see old friends and colleagues he hasn't seen since moving to Jersey.

But during a gathering at the pub after the end of Friday's first day of programming, one of the detectives from the Met, who has been working undercover on a drug case, tells him her cover has been blown. She won't, however, accept his advice to report this to her handler, or even accept the offer of one of his own officers to walk her back to her hotel.

Not long after the officers have all left the pub, undercover officer Kimberley Devine is dead, killed in a hit-and-run with no known witnesses, in an area where the CCTV coverage is lousy.

Soon David Graham is investigating his own old colleagues and friends, while confronting his own painful loss and lingering guilt, as well as being harassed by Freddy Solomon, Gorey's own muckraking police--or rather, anti-police--blogger, determined to unearth all the lazy, sloppy, or corrupt police work he's sure is going on.

Unfortunately, one of the suspects in the death of Kimberley Devine is Graham's old boss and dearly respected mentor, Superintendent Nigel Needham. He's old now, nearing retirement, and in the early stages of Alzheimer's. And he knows it, but he's trying to hang on to his approaching retirement date.

His expensive rental car proves to have damage consistent with what would have been caused to the car that hit Devine at high speed, and killed her. There's also no evidence that proves it was his car that hit her--but none that proves it was some other car, either. And Needham can't fully account for his movements, due to his quite evidently failing short-term memory.

The conference and the investigation combine to push all Graham's juniors to stretch their skills. Jim Roach is moved to think about whether he wants to pursue forensic training even if it means leaving Jersey. Jack Wentworth, the Constabulary's part-time IT guy, demonstrates security and decryption skills his colleagues hadn't previously suspected. Janice Harding and David's girlfriend, Laura Beecham, find themselves both helping a struggling ten-year-old who might be the needed witness to the crash, and assisting Graham in his unexpected but effective memory techniques.

All our familiar characters are both growing, and revealing more of themselves. In a truly unexpected development, this includes Freddy Solomon.

It's a good mystery, and a good visit with old friends who continue to grow more interesting. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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