In his third adventure, Oliver picks up a young hitchhiker who died in 1978 at age nine. The wily Brigid wants to know who killed her in a hit-and-run accident, and her mission coincidentally collides with that of a recently retired middle-aged judge. Feared by everyone who stepped into her courtroom, Beth Judkins wants to know who was responsible for her sister Debbie’s disappearance a few days before Brigid’s accident; she just happened to be Debbie’s best friend.
Amanda is in Australia, so sharp grandma Alice employs her considerable charms and skills to help Oliver resolve the cases. She so enthralls retired journalist Graeme, who’s been obsessed with the murders for 40 years, that he willingly taps a well-connected source: his nephew, Detective Wilson. Judge Judkins has a tight timeline for resolving her sister’s murder and clearly thinks little of the man she discovers digging in the family home’s back yard, but no one else is willing to help her find out why her 8-year-old sister vanished four decades ago.
Solving two 40-year-old murders is a tall task, but the combined sleuthing skills of Alice and Oliver, as well as the ghostly child’s memories, put them on the right track. Detective Wilson reluctantly admits to a judgmental respect for Oliver and a healthy fear of Alice, while Beth entrusts Oliver and his family with a sacred duty.
And then Amanda calls Oliver with a request …