The Lake Pepin area of Wisconsin has been enduring a late August hot spell, with temperatures in the 90's for over a week. When the body of a man is discovered in the Lake, Deputy Sheriff Claire Watkins, Pepin County's chief investigator, is hard pressed to find out who the man was, with nothing left to distinguish the body other than a dark-colored tattoo in his shoulder. The place where the body was found is known as Point No Point, an optical illusion at a spot in the Mississippi River "where the far bank appeared to be a wooded point jutting into the river at a sharp bend, but as you came closer the illusion faded away . . . It was a point that wasn't a point in a lake that wasn't a lake but a river." All of which I found fascinating, as it is apparently a real geographical location.
Competing for Claire's attention is trying to discover whether the death of Anne Baldwin, whose husband, Chet, has been the best friend of Claire's boyfriend, Rich, for most of their lives, is suicide or murder. If the latter, the only suspect would appear to be Chet. Apparent from the horror of Anne's death, the situation is fraught with problems for Claire on a personal level.
Chet and Anne [who was about fifteen years younger than her 55-year-old husband] had been married for ten years, and had been devoted to each other. But the ensuing investigation turns up evidence of some recent problems in the marriage. Chet's devastation at Anne's death is, however, very real, and his love for his wife was undoubtedly very deep and genuine.
Claire is a very human protagonist, one who takes her job very seriously but has other issues to deal with in this novel, the newest in a series by this author. Claire, now forty-five years old, has been living with Chet, although there is no talk of marriage. Chet has been doing his part in their shared household, preparing meals and helping raise Claire's now-sixteen-year-old daughter, Meg, who has some issues of her own, with a boy she cares for a lot who wants to introduce her to the joys of s-e-x .
For the first time in this series Amy Schroeder, the 23-year-old Deputy Sheriff, is given her lead on the investigation into the murder of the man found in the lake. Both cases turn on unexpected facts, leading to a suspenseful and poignant conclusion. A good read, and one which is recommended.