Nineteenth-century Cornwall provides the setting for this tale of illicit affairs and murder. Superintendent Amos Hawke and Sergeant Tom Churchyard are the sole representatives of an embryonic detective service in the Cornwall Constabulary. Their enquiries into the disappearance of a young married woman and her baby turn into a murder investigation when their bodies, and those of a gypsy man, are found on Hawke’s Tor. The community in the nearby village closes ranks as the truth behind the murder is slowly revealed. Sergeant Churchyard finds himself drawn to a gypsy girl, daughter of the murdered man. She seems to hold the key to the investigation, but the sergeant’s feelings become more personal.
The characters are well drawn and believable. The pressures on the infant police force and local rivalries are evoked in a sparing, yet informative style of writing. The murder is solved and all loose ends tied up in a satisfactory manner. E.V. Thompson has written over thirty novels and has a multitude of fans. This latest offering will please them, while also serving as a good introduction to those not familiar with his work.