A second dead body has been found on the riverfront of the small resort town of Whitby. Is there a connection between the first murder and this one? Trust Detective Harker to discover the truth in his own inimitable style.
The highlight this issue is the confrontation between DCI Harker and local police constable Barnett. I love the way that Harker verbally undresses his local counterpart, completely humiliating and embarrassing the local in the most interesting sort of way. Gibson and Danks stage the scene beautifully.
The scene begins with Barnett loudly declaring to the coroner that he doesn’t need the detectives’ help. Those are famous last words as Harker and his partner Critchley arrive at the scene of the crime in a wonderful full-page spread. I love the arrogant and pissed-off look on Critchley’s face in the full-page panel. This is a man who didn’t want to be forced to investigate a murder, and you can see it on every line of his face.
Gibson and Danks first send Critchley to speak to Barnett, as Barnett loudly mouths off, “This ‘oaf’ is perfectly capable of dealing with this investigation without your interference. ” But Barnett’s arrogance changes to submission very quickly as Harker dresses him down, “Don’t give me any of your lip, Sonny Jim. This is now a multiple homicide investigation. So I’m in charge, no bloody arguments, got it?” Barnett manages to mumble a “yes sir” that’s shown in a tiny little font, just perfect for the moment depicted.
Harker then goes on to back up his words with actions. He finds two crucial clues that the local constables had completely missed, as well as the clear connection between the two murders. It’s nice how Danks shows why Harker is so arrogant about his skills – he’s a thinking man able to find important connections that other people continually miss. It’s the oddly unique ways that Harker finds and attacks those connections that help make him so interesting.
The closing moments of this issue have Harker wandering around the foggy hills around Whitby as he tries to figure out the murderer and his motives. It’s an interesting scene because his partner Critchley just takes the moment in stride, as if it’s a common thing for Harker to do. It’s a clever scene because it shows so much about both men and their comfortable relationship with each other. The scene is also typical of this carefully planned series.
I’ve come to really enjoy the few minutes I get to spend each month in the company of Harker and Critchley.