The novel ( 100,000 words) is in 4 parts and follows the life of Sue Parker a Police Officer in the Avon and Somerset Police force as she attempts to get to grips with crime and her own personal love life that usually seems to come out second best as work takes priority.
Part 1, (Title above) begins and ends in Bath but takes many twists and turns along the way, usually following the reminiscences of a suspect. Africa features but so do Tokyo, Munich and Washington over decades. Questions of conscience arise in different scenarios. Sue is a PC.
Part 2 is called ‘Croquet at Chateau Chevalier’ and sees Sue embroiled in a murder at a Management Motivational weekend in a country ‘hotel’ run by a company called ‘Muck&Brass,’ a term that alludes to their penchant for outdoor trials, such as Quad Bikes. There are so many suspects, but here the onus is on lack of conscience as people make their decisions. Sue has been moved up to Sergeant.
Part 3 is ‘Troublesome Talk at River Walk’ and is set in Frome, a small town near Bath where Sue has been promoted to Inspector. It begins with the suspicious death of an old lady and goes on to explore her background in the Spanish Civil War, and in the Resistance in World War Two. This story highlights the dilemma that is faced by individuals, when competing definitions of right and wrong clash.
Part 4 is ‘Flotsam and Jetsum’ Sue is retired but gets involved on holiday when a body on a beach near Portsmouth leads her into a dangerous International Conspiracy in the Baltic Sea and beyond, even into Russia itself. An absence of guilt once more leads Sue to identify her suspect, but she also finds ‘Silver Linings’ in her love life again.