Disheartened by her recent performance, Beatrice Stubbs takes a sabbatical from the Metropolitan Police for a gourmet tour of Northern Spain. In Vitoria, she encounters a distant acquaintance. Beautiful, bloody-minded journalist Ana Herrero is onto a story.
Beatrice, scenting adventure, offers her expertise. The two women are sucked into a mystery of missing persons, violent threats, mutilated bodies and industrial-scale fraud. They are out of their depth. With no official authority and unsure who to trust, they find themselves up to their necks in corruption, blackmail and Rioja.
Beatrice calls for the cavalry. The boys are back, and this time, it’s a matter of taste. But when her instincts prove fallible, Beatrice discovers that justice is a matter of interpretation.
Sorry to hear about the break-up. But I’m sure you won’t be single for long. Plenty more fish in the Superstore. You’d love it here. Very bike-friendly place and pavements completely free of chewing-gum. I’m sitting on a bench by the lake, gnawing on a sausage and throwing bits of bread to the ducks. Unspeakably beautiful but I do miss home.
Lots of love
The Porsche thundered through the trees. Belanov steered with his left hand, allowing his right, complete with TAG Heuer, to rest on the gearstick. Her colour was high and he could sense her exhilaration. He allowed the vehicle a four-wheel slide as they arrived at the cabin.
“OK, Ms McKendrick. I’ll be five minutes. Would you like me to leave the music on for you?”
“You know what? I think I might be safe enough to come in while you get your stuff. Apart from anything else, I could use the bathroom.”
Belanov repressed a grin and bowed like a gentleman as he opened the passenger door and offered his arm. He ran through his list. White wine and snacks in fridge, vodka in freezer. Fire laid, clean sheets, camera charged. And in the bedside drawer, a high-quality twist of cocaine. Czech.
Appellation: DOQ Rioja
Blend: 50% Tempranillo, 40% Garnacha. 10% Mazuelo
Ageing: 16 months in 100% French Allier oak
Age of vines: 50-60 years
Very dark garnet colour, almost purple. Intense early nose of boot polish lifting to potent blend of incense, lavender and smoked meat. Initial dark fruits in the mouth give way to toasty round tannins in the middle and a high-toned black plum finish. Drink now, or cellar several cases to enjoy over the next decade. (Score: 92/100)