I have finished the 24th book for the book challenge. It was Ice Blue by Emma Jameson.
Lord Anthony Hetheridge is Earl Hetheridge, or as he is affectionately known to his subordinates, My Lord. This is because he is also Chief Superintendent (CS) Hetheridge of New Scotland Yard in Homicide. He arrives one morning to find Detective Sergeant (DS) Kate Wakefield and Superintendent Jackson in a screaming match. He breaks it up and orders them to have a report about their disagreement on his desk by that afternoon. Jackson writes a lengthy report, but Wakefield writes a single word, “Plonker.” Hetheridge decides to asks Wakefield to join his team. Together, with DS Paul Bahr, an English of Pakistani heritage, they comprise Hetheridge’s homicide unit.
Wakefield lives with her retarded brother Ritchie, his caregiver, and her young nephew Henry in a lower-middle-class neighborhood of London. She has recently broken up with her long-time boyfriend Dylan Corrigan, who has disappeared. One night, soon after she has joined Hetheridge’s team, she receive’s a call from Hetheridge that he is picking her up. There has been a murder in posh Belgravia and they are called to the scene. A man called Malcolm Comfrey has been found murdered in his study, a fireplace poker sticking out of his eye socket. His wife Madge found him. His wife and daughter are waiting for Hetheridge and Wakefield in the sitting room. It turns out that Hetheridge was once engaged to Madge, before she married Comfrey. Hetheridge was assigned to the case because he knows how to handle wealthy people.
Of course, Madge and her daughter Jules are among the suspects. Also a prime suspect is Kevin Whitley, Jules fiancé. There were also three other people at the aborted dinner that night: Burt and Ginny Rowlands, who have left for the south of France, and Charlie Fringate, a business partner of Comfrey. All are potential suspects. Wakefield and Bahr set out to interview the suspects and meet with obstacles and down-right hostility, particularly from Jules and Kevin Whitley, who says he and Jules are not engaged and that he is involved with the woman he lives with.
Madge only wants to talk to Tony Hetheridge, not to his subordinates. He interviews her with Kate. But he also takes Kate to see Lady Margaret to find out what she knows about the gossip behind affairs and the Comfreys. It seems that Ginny Rowlands in a former prostitute who had an affair with Malcolm Comfrey. Madge had an affair with Charlie Fringate. They discover that Charlie Fringate has gone bankrupt on several of his companies because of Comfrey’s dealings. The Rowlands, too, have money problems because of Comfrey.
In the meantime, DS Wakefield discovers that she is pregnant with Dylan’s child. She keeps trying to locate Dylan but to no avail. Finally she receives a call from Dylan’s sister in Birmingham. Dylan’s body has been found in an alley in London with its throat cut and he was identified from dental records and traced to his sister. She was calling Kate to identify the body. Kate is quite shaken and scared to think that she will be raising this child alone, but she identifies Dylan’s body and takes two bereavement leave to attend to arrangements while DS Bahr and Hetheridge continue to interview the Rowlands, who have finally returned from France, and Madge and Jules again. In a bold move, Hatheridge asks Kate to marry him. He is very attracted to her. But she thinks he is simply being gallant and feeling sorry for her.
They confirm that Ginny Rowlands was indeed a highly paid escort. She was also giving blood with Madge, Malcolm, and Jules and noticed that while Madge and Malcolm where both O types, Jules was AB, which meant that Jules was not Malcolm’s child. Ginny was going to blackmail Malcolm with this information, but he didn’t care. But someone else did. Ginny tells them that she knows who killed Comfrey but will not say who that is.
It also happens that Hetheridge’s blood type is AB. He asks Madge if Jules is his child. She says that she is. He’s not sure how he feels about this. Conflicted, surely.
Then the team receives a call that Ginny Rowlands has been shot in the back and killed in her house. A gun with Charlie Fringate’s fingerprints is found on the property. Madge and Jules turn up at the house demanding to be let in to see Ginny. Hetheridge takes charge.
Then a call comes to go to Comfrey’s house in Belgravia. There is activity there. The case has come to a close. The suspense is building. And DS Kate Wakefield is in danger as she interviews Madge and Jules and Kevin.
Jameson weaves a spellbinding tale with very likable, vulnerable characters. Each has his or her strengths and weaknesses. The suspects are all equally unlikable, all could have committed this crime. Jameson holds your attention through the final pages of the book, as you wonder what will be the resolution of the relationship between Hetheridge and Wakefield. And you find yourself waiting for the next book to find out.