When she revisited, always with astonishment, what had happened to her, it was the deliberate breaking of her fingers that remained indelibly printed on her memory ...Twelve hours after a woman's broken body is washed up on a deserted shore, her traumatized three-year-old daughter is discovered twenty miles away wandering the streets of Poole. But why was Kate killed and her daughter, a witness, allowed to live? And why weren't they together? More curiously, why had Kate willingly boarded a boat when she had a terror of drowning at sea? Police suspicion centres on both a young actor, whose sailing boat is moored just yards from where the toddler is found, and the murdered woman's husband. Was he really in Liverpool the night she died? And why does their daughter scream in terror every time he tries to pick her up?
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The nude body of a 31-year-old woman washes up in a secluded cove on the Dorset coast; at the same time, her 3-year-old daughter is found wandering alone in the streets of a nearby town. The woman, Kate Sumner, was raped and choked before being thrown into the water, and traces of Rohypnol, the so-called date-rape drug, are found in her bloodstream. There are just three suspects in the crime: Kate's husband, William Sumner, a tortured and sexually frustrated man; a handsome, charming but also very disturbed young actor named Steven Harding; and Tony Bridges, a teacher whose friendship with Harding is complicated by jealousy and anger.
Out of these basic ingredients, Minette Walters--the reigning alchemist of the British psychological thriller--has spun another complicated story of passion and repression. In the introduction to the reviewer's edition, Walters says: "Each character is portrayed in depth, and the solution lies in understanding what goes on inside their heads." This is true, up to a point. But what Walters doesn't mention is the sly, slow, and occasionally devious way she doles out the information needed to reach that understanding. You have to weigh the evidence of tidal charts and forensic tests. You must also decide whether the little lies of the characters add up to a big guilt. It's a plausible ending, but you may feel a bit manipulated. Other examples of Walters's alchemy: The Dark Room, The Echo, The Ice House, The Scold's Bridle. --Dick AdlerFrom the Inside Flap:
Twelve hours after Kate Sumner?s broken body is washed up on a deserted beach on the south coast of England, her traumatized three-year-old daughter is discovered twenty miles away walking the streets of Poole, alone. The police are puzzled.
Why weren?t mother and daughter together? Why was Kate killed and her daughter allowed to live? More curiously, why had Kate boarded a boat ? apparently willingly ? when she was scared stiff of drowning at sea? Who had tempted her to her death?
The police suspect a young actor, a loner with an appetite for pornography, who lies about his relationship with Kate and whose sailing boat, Crazy Daze, is moored just yards from where the toddler was found?
As the investigation proceeds, the police discover a gaping hole in Kate?s husband?s alibi. Was he really in Liverpool at a conference the night she died? Was Kate the ?respectable woman? he claims she was?
And why does their daughter scream in terror every time he tries to pick her up??
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