The year is 1987. The time of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. And a delegation of businessmen from Finland is visiting Carrickfergus, inspecting empty factories for possible manufacturing of high tech products. While there they visit a castle, and the next day a young female journalist is discovered dead in its courtyard, apparently having jumped from above and committing suicide. Detective Sean Duffy, making his appearance in this 6th entry in the series, is assigned to the case.
Apparently the Castle is locked overnight, and all visitors are made to leave before a heavy iron gate is lowered which prevents entry or egress until it is raised the next morning. The caretaker, who lowers the gate from the inside and lives in a cottage on the premises, swears he inspected the castle for any lingering persons twice, once before lowering the gate and a second time hours later, and found no one. The only conclusion: Either he murdered the reporter or she jumped; a classic “locked room” crime.
It is the second time in his career that Duffy has encountered such an incident, which he feels is a statistical impossibility, so, long after the arrest of the caretaker for murder, he continues to ponder the case and sniff out clues, keeping the file alive. This gives the author the opportunity to exhibit why he is an award-winning writer [most recently, the book has just been nominated for England’s prestigious Theakston's Old Peculiar Award], as Duffy and his team progress toward resolving the questions raised as a result of the woman’s death. It is a clever plot. Duffy is a remarkable character, made even more appealing in this novel as he grows as a person. It will be most interesting to see how he evolves in any forthcoming installment in the series.