I have read the 150th book for the book challenge. It was Careless in Red (An Inspector Thomas Lynley Novel) by Elizabeth George.
Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley is recovering from the death of his wife by taking a leave from his job at the Metropolitan Police and living rough and walking the Cornish coast. While walking, he comes comes upon the body of a young man who has fallen to his death while rock climbing. Lynley breaks into a nearby cottage seeking a telephone but there is none. The cottage’s owner comes home. She is Dairdre Trainor, a large animal vet at a zoo in Bristol. She takes Thomas to an inn in Casvelyn to call the police, but lets slip that she knows the identity of the young man. She and Thomas return to the scene of the fall.
DI Bea Hannaford is in charge of the investigation. She questions both Thomas and Daidre. She requests that Thomas get his identification from his home sent to him and she doesn’t believe Daidre for some reason. She doesn’t believe Daidre’s story of how she drove down from Bristol to Casvelyn. Upon investigation, the police find that the young man’s death is murder. His rock climbing gear had been tampered with. This was cleverly done. Now they are looking for a killer.
The young man was Santo Kearns. His father is Ben Kearns who owns Adventures Unlimited, a new resort in Casvelyn. His mother is Dellen Kearns, an unstable and promiscuous woman. He has a sister Kira who is in marketing with the resorting and who riding her bicycle to let off stress. Her fiancé Allen also works in marketing. Ben used to be a surfer and Santo was a surfer and hung around the surf shop operated by Law Angarrack. Jango Reeth is a sprayer at the shop, an elderly man with palsy, who is a confidante to young people. Cadan Angarrack also works at Adventures Unlimited. His sister Madlyn was Santo’s girlfriend.
While Bea Hannaford is conducting her investigation, Thomas is also conducting an investigation. Commissioner David Hillier has sent DS Barbara Haver down to help the investigation but first Thomas has asked her to stop at Falmouth to check on Daidre’s background. She finds no record of Daidre before age 13.
DI Hannaford has discovered that Santo was the lover not only of Madlyn but also of an older woman Aldara. She also had another lover who Santo talked to and he dropped her when he found out about Santo. Could this be the reason for murder?
Meanwhile, Thomas has discovered that Ben Kearns was involved with the death of a young man when he was a young man in a town up the coast. The young man drown in a cave, drunk. The boys were cleared of wrongdoing, but could the family be out for revenge? Thomas has an age progression done on a family photograph of the young man’s family and finds himself looking at a killer.
Thomas learns the truth about Dairdre’s past. She takes him to see her birth family, travelers in a part of Cornwall few see. She was given up for adoption. She stopped to see them on her way down from Bristol. That’s why the description of her trip didn’t add up. They wanted money from her to send her birth mother to Lourdes for a miracle since the mother is ill. She wouldn’t give them the money and they are angry. Thomas now understands why Daidre keeps this part of her life secret.
Thomas tells DI Hannaford of his suspicions about the killer. She goes to Jango Reeth, who was Jonathan Parsons, and he meets her and Ben Kearns at a remote location to explain how the crime may have been committed. He couches everything in terms that indicate how things may have been done. They can prove nothing. Ben lets it be known that Santo was not actually his son. He was actually the son of one of Dellen’s other lover’s. Jango was trying to seek revenge for the death of his son in the cave years ago by killing Ben’s son at the same age as his son had been. Jango walks out of the cave and disappears. He leaves Casvelyn. DI Hannaford knows he is the killer but they can’t prove he did it. Everyone is disappointed.
DS Havers asks Lynley if he will return to the Met. He says he probably will after he finishes his walk through Cornwall. It’s something he must do.
This was a very convoluted plot. But it was a very good story. It really held my interest through the whole book. There is a lot of focus on surfing and rock climbing throughout the story. You really feel for DI Lynley on the death of his wife but you can tell that he is mysteriously drawn toward Daidre Trainor. There is something of a love interest there. I loved this novel.