Right before Christmas, a woman comes home and finds her lover, a young beautiful woman, stabbed to death and laying nude on the living room rug. DCI Alan Banks and his newly promoted detective, Susan, get the case. Working a case around a holiday adds complications. People are traveling, busy and just want to concentrate on having fun with friends and family.
Banks looks for the reason someone would have killed Caroline Hartly. Was it the ex-husband of her lover who has not recovered from her leaving him, especially for a woman? Was it something from the years she had run away to London where she had a child? Was it someone in the play Caroline was about to act in? Was it someone who thought gay relationships were a sin?
This is the fifth book in the Alan Banks series. It feels a bit dated since gay relationships are much more accepted today than in the world Robinson writes of. There is also a ring of break-ins happening in the village which is the new detective's first case. The other thing that makes this novel feel a bit dated is the constant talk about Banks's smoking. Acceptance of smoking is not common these days as opposed to the two decades since the book's publication. Outside of that, however, the mystery is intriguing and the reader will be interested in more insight into Band's own marriage. This book is recommended for mystery readers.