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Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is experiencing the joys of the first weeks of fatherhood; intense love for his first child Noah from his second marriage to Cleo and intense tiredness from sleep-disturbed nights. He is also aware that the long hours needed in his job which were the reason for the breakdown of his first marriage could have an impact on his current happiness. He is not aware that a recently paroled long-term prisoner is planning vengeance against Grace via his family for his long incarceration.
In 1922 five year old Gavin Daly is living in New York. One evening four men break into his house, murder his mother and take his Irish mobster father away, never to be seen again. When his aunt takes his elder sister Aileen and Gavin onto the Mauretania to go to England someone gives him a parcel containing his father's watch and a cryptic message. The watch becomes his most treasured possession and Gavin vows to return to avenge his father - a vengeance he has never forgotten.
In 2012 Aileen Daly is 98 years old and living alone in a huge mansion in Brighton containing valuable antiques. After a home invasion she is tortured and left dying. The valuable antiques are stolen and her safe and secret container left open and empty. Her brother, Gavin, now 95, knows that the safe contained his father's watch.
When Detective Superintendent Grace investigates this brutal burglary he discovers a diverse bunch of villains behind the attack and robbery. The investigation is well written UK police fiction with several connecting plots and clever police work following a murderous trail through the antiques world of Brighton, to the expat criminal fraternity of Spain’s "Costa del Crime", and eventually to New York.
My main critique is the inclusion apparently irrelevant interludes about Grace's first wife, which I presume will make sense in later books. Also as James is targeting a US audience some criticisms of the initial help given by the NYPD were unnecessary to the plot.
All in all a good read, especially the couple of surprise endings.