The second in the series set in the Derbyshire Peak District, Dancing with the Virgins is a tense psychological thriller, and is the sequel to Stephen Booth’s stunning debut Black Dog.
In a remote part of the Peak District stand the Nine Virgins, a ring of stones overshadowed by a dark legend. Now, as winter closes in, a tenth figure is added to the circle – the body of Jenny Weston is discovered, her limbs arranged so she appears to be dancing.
Weeks earlier another woman had been attacked on the moors. Maggie Crew was found by a local farmer's wife, severely traumatized, her face savagely cut open. Is there a maniac at loose, knifing woman at random? Unlocking the memories trapped in Maggie's mind is now a matter of utmost urgency, and Detective Sergeant Diane Fry is given the task of drawing the truth out of her.
For DC Ben Cooper there are too many lines of enquiry leading to too few answers. Two travellers, sleeping rough near the scene of the murder, baffle the detectives with their strange rituals and language which may or may not be hiding vital information. Then there is the Park ranger, Owen Fox, whose past hides a shameful secret. And what of the farmer, Warren Leach, on whose land the Nine Virgins stand: a desperate man whose own children fear him.
Against the dramatic backdrop of the White Peak, Ben and Diane struggle to make sense of a murder that seems motiveless. But the moors have witnessed more bloodshed than either realize, and violence is to beget more violence before the answer is found.