The Hermitage is an exclusive girls’ boarding school outside Bangor from where seventeen
year old Sukie Melville goes missing. Two days later her body is washed up on the
Aber foreshore near Caernarfon.
Freya Scott, the school’s charismatic headmistress, tries to convince McKenna’s team
that Sukie killed herself. The autopsy shows otherwise, but Scott will do anything
to preserve the glossy façade obscuring the dark and dangerous ethos she promotes
and the passionate, brooding resentments that torment her pupils. She tries to compromise
McKenna when new tragedy strikes a girl whose life was defined by her friendship
The investigation proceeds, labyrinthine as the dense woodland surrounding the school.
Scott begins to lose her stranglehold on staff and pupils. McKenna thinks he sees
some light. Then fourteen year old Daisy is killed, right under DC Evans nose.
The story is set in Bangor and the surrounding area.
When Trisha Stanton Smith dies in an arson attack on her Derbyshire home, her ex-husband
goes to prison for life. When his alibi is unexpectedly confirmed by a priest returning
from abroad, the conviction is overturned and the police officers who investigated
the murder are suspended from duty.
McKenna and his team are assigned to investigate the suspended officers, their relationships
with Trisha’s family, and whether her ex-husband was the victim of a malicious conspiracy.
The team faces relentless hostility from the police force under investigation. A
journalist after the big story pursues McKenna, muck-raking through his background
and marriage. The charismatic local priest puts one obstacle after another in their
path. Young Julie, once the local tart, beguiles with the old secrets she refuses
to tell. Convinced Trisha’s ex-husband is a psychopath, her family and friends press
for the murder to be reinvestigated. Stanton Smith hides behind the high walls surrounding
his wealthy new wife’s house, eventually emerging to ask McKenna to redeem his other
Priest. Psychopath. Prostitute. Policeman. Who would you accuse? Who indeed?
The story is set in the fictional Derbyshire town of Haughton.