Robert Cardilini is another sad cop, sunk into apathy and drunkenness since the death of his wife a year ago. Once he was one of the best, now he’s just a waste of space. So his boss gives him the case of a shooting death at an elite private school with powerful old boys everywhere, and makes it clear that he just has to tick it off as an accident. But Cardilini is still enough of a good cop to see that all the rules of procedure have been broken, and still contrary enough to want to do something about it. It doesn’t help that the school staff makes it clear that he’s an oik who has no idea how things should be done.
Cardilini believes that the shooting was deliberate, and carried out by someone highly-skilled. He has to go round lots of people to investigate, and he’s lucky that he has at least one person in the line of command who wants to do the right thing, and who gives him a little leeway. The solution to the crime is an intriguing one that’s borne in on us gradually. Someone thought the victim deserved to die and that the law wasn’t up to it. We’re left with quite a bit of sympathy for that view.
There’s the law, and then there’s justice, says the blurb. Who gets to decide?
I enjoyed this a lot (memo to the publishers though, there are some horrible proof-reading errors, like calling someone Miss Reynolds in one line and Mrs Reynolds in the next). Set evocatively in Perth, it’s Robert Jeffreys’ first novel, and said to be the first in a series. I’ll give Cardilini another canter.