Nothing exciting ever happens on Darby’s Island, Newfoundland. That is until one summer afternoon in 1975 when a Chevy towing a trailer drives off the ferry. The Great Prospero, Hypnotist and Magician is printed in large red letters across the side. People on the island are thrilled that the renowned Prospero is going to perform at the community hall. However, after the hypnotist suggests his subjects are seagulls, Jake Pickford, with arms flapping, leaves the building and does not return to the stage. That same evening, the archbishop is found stabbed to death on the beach. Hours later, Jake becomes the number-one suspect. The only problem: he can’t remember anything.
When RCMP officer Blanche Ste Croix is called back to her hometown, she’s girded herself for the inevitable confrontation with her mother-in-law. But when a storm prevents the forensics team from reaching Darby’s Island, Blanche finds herself instead leading her first murder investigation. Over the course of one rainy weekend, she questions family, friends, and the cast of oddballs camped on the beach. At the same time as she’s working to prove herself as a police officer, Blanche is forced to face the traumatic events of a decade earlier that took her away from the island in the first place.
As she conducts interviews and proceeds with the investigation, she uncovers secrets, coverups, and no shortage of suspects. Even the archbishop has his share of skeletons in his closet. But when the truth comes to light, it is more sinister than anyone could have imagined.
In her follow-up to Last Lullaby, Alice Walsh gives us another tightly plotted mystery whose small-town charm is just the tip of the iceberg.