The second Inspector Morse book, which centres around the disappearance of a school girl - Valerie Taylor never returned to school one Tuesday afternoon, 2 years later a letter is sent to her parents - from Valerie letting them know that she's alright.
This comes after a police officer begins to look into her disappearance following an article in a Sunday newspaper. The policeman dies in the car accident and the investigation is passed to Morse.
It's not the kind of case that interests Morse - he's only really interested when there's a body involved. The central question is whether Valerie is alive - or whether she's really dead. There are a number of ideas, all ranging from her parents doing away with her (especially after it's revealed that Valerie was pregnant, possibly by a teacher at her school, possibly by her step-father) to Valerie assuming a fake identity.
The number of red herrings was quite impressive.
But that's part of what really annoyed me with this book. There's a lot of talk by Morse, about his extravagant ideas, but not much police work to back them up. In fact when they do look for evidence the ideas breakdown completely.
There was a certain point when I realised what had actually happened to Valerie and was rather disappointed that it took Morse so long to figure it out (just by looking in a kitchen drawer you knew).
The ending is what let me down the most, there was no real resolution - we know clearly what happened but no-one would be held accountable for it. There was a lot left unresolved for me as to the "why" it happened.
Also, Morse came over as a dirty old man for quite a lot of this book. Almost grateful that Lewis was not aware of his personal proclivities. As Morse said himself - he needs a woman.