McDermid’s stand-alone is an absorbing character study. Her sleuth grapples with unbidden desire and disgrace while trying to redeem herself by catching a murderer. There’s a twist near the end that will seem slightly forced, but you’ll enjoy the rest of the book so much it will hardly matter.

Psychiatrist Charlie Flint is at loose ends when she’s barred from practicing because her expert testimony allowed a murderer to go free. Her former professor, Corinna Newsam, summons her to Oxford to look into the murder of her son-in-law. Corinna suspects her daughter’s lesbian lover, Jay, killed him, but Charlie wonders if Corinna is on a homophobic witch hunt. While Charlie tracks down info about Jay, she obsesses over the enigmatic Lisa, who tempts her to stray from her longtime lover, Maria. (BYWATER, Sep., 397 pp., $14.95)
Reviewed by: 
Liz French