It is a foggy day. Ruby Grummett, a railway crossing keeper, opens the gates for a council lorry, thinking that the Skegness train has been cancelled, but it comes looming through the mists and hits the lorry, which is flung into the air. The train is derailed, one man is killed and another seriously injured, and Ruby’s house is destroyed.
Is Ruby to blame for the accident, or was it caused by the railway company’s failure to warn that the train was late? DI Yates visits Ruby in hospital in an attempt to find out. There he meets her husband Bob and daughters Kayleigh and Philippa. Kayleigh, short and squat like her mother, works in a local factory. Philippa, tall and very blonde, attends Boston Grammar School. Bob is shifty and seems to be hiding something from the police. Both his brother Ivan and Councillor Start, a prominent local man, are helping him.
Meanwhile, the head teacher at Spalding High School is strangely unconcerned when a prowler is reported loitering outside the school; Andy Carstairs’ new girlfriend tells him about an obscure all-male club that is allowed to meet at the school at weekends; and Juliet Armstrong, who has renewed her friendship with Dr Louise Butler, reopens the case of a Finnish au pair who disappeared twenty years before.
These miscellaneous events appear to be unconnected until the remains of a child are discovered. Then all hell breaks loose.
This is the fourth novel in the DI Yates series.
‘★★★★★ A seemingly straightforward case upends a termites' nest for DI Tim Yates. Riveting, thrilling and with that trademark Christina James shock at the end. Cracking crime writing at its best.’ —Ani Johnson, The Bookbag
‘It’s not the accident itself however that is the focus of the novel, but the events that it sparks off, as the wreckage is checked and the families of those involved contacted. More and more characters join the jigsaw which grows increasingly dark as the deeper and creepier element of the plot begins to emerge.’ —Shots Crime and Thriller eZine
‘A seriously good murder mystery in which the final twist doesn't appear till the final page, eliciting a devilish giggle and a pleasing glow as I closed the book.’ —Ani Johnson, The Book Bag
‘A crime mystery with a sinister undercurrent exploring the murky world of illegal immigrants, and a well researched historical element.’ —BooksPlease
‘James specialises in mixing suspense-flavoured first-person and historical narratives in with the police-procedural. In SAUSAGE HALL she uses Kevan's voice to narrate events from the point of view of a troubled family man. The history comes from the recovered diary of Florence Jacobs, a previous resident of Sausage Hall, which offer clues to the identities of the three bodies in the cellar. The police are all essentially public-spirited and amiable, with the possible exception of Tim's ambitious boss. This time, the tireless Juliet gets a richly-deserved romantic sub-plot.’ —Euro Crime