This was the first book I had ever read by Peter Robinson. I love a good mystery, and I particularly have a thing for those that are set in England, so I was delighted to discover this author who will take his place alongside P.D. James, Elizabeth George, Ruth Rendell, Deborah Crombie, John Harvey and Stephen Booth (to name a few of my favorites.)
It features DCI Alan Banks who is on desk duty for insubordination when his supervisor thinks to punish and humiliate him even further by assigning him a 50 year old cold case. After a drought depletes a reservoir, a skeleton mired in mud surfaces in the remnants of a village that had been submerged in 1953. It seems an impossible task to identify the young woman after so much time has passed and the killer is probably already dead as well. But instead of resenting the job as pointless, Banks is challenged by the seemingly insurmountable odds, and with the help of DS Annie Cabbot, begins to unravel the mystery while also coming to grips with his life as a newly divorced man.
The book ratchets back and forth between the present and events that took place during WWII. The flashbacks are revealed to us by young Gwen, who is now in her 70s, and as a famous author lives under a different name. These memories enticingly reveal the truth bit by bit, but are a little disconcerting as they appear on the same pages with real-time events. It was an interesting literary device that required my full attention.
The background for these pages was Anita's brand acrylic paint in "Turquoise" and "Moccasin Brown". The white writing was done with a Gelly Roll pen in the Art Nouveau alphabet. I put lines and dots around the illustration to set it off.