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In April 1988, a young man, Michael Sutton, tells Kinsey Millhone that over twenty years ago, when he was six years old, he was playing in the woods and saw two men burying something. This happened just after a four-year-old girl was kidnapped and never returned. Sutton hires Kinsey to help find the location in the woods, and then, possibly, find the killers.
When Kinsey notifies the police they set up a search team with a cadaver sniffing canine. They find the grave but not the girl's body. However, the publicity of the search sets off other actions.
The story moves between 1988 and the events twenty years before. There are a number of sub plots as we find out what was happening with the families of the two kidnappers and with some innocent friends. These situations are told in the characters own point of view, a hard thing to accomplish but well done in this instance.
There are a number of interesting characters in the novel and Kinsey is the best. She is still fresh and a saucy, independent investigator with the intuition to know that although the grave didn't have what Michael Sutton believed, he may have seen something of major significance. The difficulty is that Sutton has a reputation for bending the truth and he may have told too many lies to be believed this time.
The reader always feel a part of Kinsey's clan as she tells us of her mixed up family and septuganarian friends.