“The lady vanished” introduces the protagonist Tyrone Swift. Tyrone was once a policeman working for the MET, then he worked for Interpol until he got jaded and burnt-out from working on sex traffic cases. When his aunt Lily died and left him her house in Hammersmith, London, he decided to take advantage of his new, more comfortable state of financial affairs to quit his position in Interpol and become a private detective. His good working relationship with the Metropolitan Police serve to aid him in his new endeavor, especially the Met’s Assistant Commissioner Mary Adair, who is Swift’s first cousin.
The book is a wonderfully honed balance between the cases Tyrone Swift is working on, and his personal life. This is something I like in a mystery story which makes me connect more to the characters.
Tyrone is tall, solitary, and thirty-eight years old. Some consider him to be taciturn. An avid rower, he likes to spend a few hours each day on the Thames.
“He felt a wistfulness for things lost and irretrievable”
He was in a relationship with Ruth, a woman he still deeply loves. She broke off their engagement and married another man. Recently she has reentered his life on a friendly and casual basis. Her husband has multiple sclerosis and she needs a shoulder to cry on.
His inherited house has a sitting tenant on the upper floor. Cedric Sheridan is in his late eighties and has become a true friend to Tyrone.
“…family webs are intricate and layered”.
Tyrone Swift has been hired to find a missing woman, Carmen Langborne, a wealthy widow who is keen on supporting animal charities and is devoted to her three cats. The woman who hired him is Mrs. Langborne’s step-daughter, Florence. It is obvious to Swift that she and her brother Rupert have no great love for their stepmother. They both seem to think their stepmother must be dead. Though they won’t shed any tears, they DO want her body found in order that they might reap the benefits of her will…
Carmen disappeared from her house without leaving provision for her beloved cats. So her disappearance is highly suspect. Her cleaner, Mrs. Farley is feeding them on a temporary basis.
“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child”.
As Tyrone delves into the Langborne family history, the case of the missing woman becomes more and more suspect and mysterious.
The only negative for me in reading this book was that there were too many characters. The author did include a character list at the back of the book however.
This is a literary mystery of family secrets. With well-rounded and engaging characters this book will appeal to all who prefer a character-driven mystery story. The plot was well-rendered and believable, and the ending was wrought with skill. Recommended!
I am very anxious to read the second Tyrone Swift novel, “Blood secrets“, and I have already purchased the Kindle edition.
Gretta Mulrooney was born and educated in London, of Irish parents. She studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Ulster, Magee college in Derry. She has worked in education and social care.
She has published five literary fiction novels.