- Paperback: 300 pages
- Publisher: Dundurn (April 18 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0888822332
- ISBN-13: 978-0888822338
- Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.9 x 17.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 245 g
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,179,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Given that first-time author James Hawkins happens to be a retired police commander and former director of education for the Canadian Institute of Environmental Investigations, it's hardly surprising that this debut novel has the police procedural down cold. What is unusual, especially in a first book, is that the author's confidence with the material frees him to pursue lots of deft side plots examining petty jealousies and other emotional baggage, like the not-always-desirable aftermath of acts of heroism. Writing with great insight and sympathy, Hawkins shows that even after the crime is solved, the whodunit factor may be far less intriguing than the demons that haunt the primary players in this genuinely puzzling investigation. --Deirdre Hanna
Short-listed for the 2002 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
Detective Inspector David Bliss has been transferred from London, England, to Hampshire in what appears to his new subordinates and superiors as a move down the career ladder. His first day on the job begins with a murder: Jonathan Dauntsey, son of the Major, willingly confesses to murdering his father. It's an open-and-shut case, until the investigation stalls when the police can't find the body.
D.I. Bliss follows a trail of clues that lead him back in time to the point where the central presumption of the case - a murdered father - comes into question. Who did Jonathan Dauntsey murder, if anyone at all? As the mystery of the murder begins to resolve itself, so does the mystery of Bliss's transfer from the big city to a small town.