It looks like a tranquil Christmas scene in a cozy living room—log fire, brightly lit tree, sheepskin rug, Vivaldi on the record player—but the appearance is deceptive. Caroline Hartley, the woman lying on the couch, has been brutally murdered. In Past Reason Hated, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks uncovers the unusual and disturbing past of a victim for whom secrecy was a way of life. He finds a multitude of suspects: Caroline’s lover, Veronica Shildon; Veronica’s ex-husband, a famous composer; a feminist poet; the cast of a play Caroline was rehearsing for; and her reclusive, haunted brother, Gary. Chief Inspector Banks’s fifth case is a suspenseful, shocking and ultimately satisfying tale of family secrets, hidden passions and desperate violence.