Gwen Moffat lives in Cumbria. Her novels are set in remote communities ranging from the Hebrides to the American West. The crimes fit their environment, swelling that dreadful record of sin in the smiling countryside cited by Sherlock Holmes. The style echoes this: rustic charm masking horror.
Grafted on to the basic plot of a hideous bus crash and a bereft parent setting out to murder survivors is a developing situation where the investigating officer, DI Snow, ensconced in the closet, is stalked by a love sick colleague. Good gay, bad gay?
Young girls die, a mother jumps off a motorway bridge; girls are abducted and strangled, a father hangs himself. The plots fuse as the stalker hatches a fiendish plan to avenge himself for rejection at the hands of his beloved. Meanwhile Snow is bewildered by the allure of an elegant headmistress who baits her trap with the promise of “a mean biryani with all the trimmings.”
Suspense and fascination lie in the method by which Snow – a decent man – frees himself from his appalling incubus. Resolution is essential because he is Davies’ series character and this is the 1980s when homosexuality, if not illegal would, when exposed, mean the end of his career.