Jack Lilburne, Governor of Conyhall Offenders' Institution, has had a distinguished career in the Prison Service. But not everyone believes he deserves the respect universally given to him - someone believes he deserves a violent death.
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Police detective Gil Mayo (An Accidental Shroud, 1997, etc.), based in the Midlands town of Lavenstock, has just been promoted to Detective Superintendent. Lavenstock is home to the Conyhall Young Offenders' Institution, and nearby is the rambling country house of Jack Lilburne, its highly respected Governor, his garden-fixated wife Dorthea, and their nubile daughter Flora. When Jack is killedand Flora injuredby a bomb placed under his car, Mayo heads the investigation. It centers, at first, on the inmates at the Institution, especially on Derek Davis, now on release but known to have threatened Lilburne. Flora, slowly recovering in the hospital, has drawn the adoring attention of operating room technician Marc Daventry. Marc's recent life has been obsessed with finding the mother who'd given him up for adoption to parents now dead. He has accidentally succeeded in that missionthrough stolid Avril Kitchineven as Mayo and his staff are exploring leads from Davis and are beginning to uncover the secrets of 20 years past that will lead to the killer, though not in time to stop another murder. Heavily focused on the psychological aspects of the story's well-drawn characterseven those peripherally involvedbut Eccles's lucid narrative and tension-building skills provide an intriguing outing for procedural fans. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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