After leaving the Winnipeg Police force, former Inspector Frank Foote has gone into home renovations. Tearing down a wall on a Norwood Flats job one day, he and his partner come across the skeleton of a small female who has been imprisoned there. They alert the police, who confiscate their tools and remove them from the crime scene. Frank doesn’t tell them about the photograph he’s found tucked in the wall space with the young woman. He may be retired, but his investigative instincts are still strong. Tracking down the identity of the girl leads Frank into the past and down the trail of the long-forgotten Mrs. Mortimer, who’d had a short-lived business in the 1960s taking photos of the recently deceased for their families. Frank finds himself hoping against hope that she isn't involved. But what are the odds? Mrs. Mortimer was never married. She’d adopted the name as a teenager because she didn’t like her given name. She also thought it gave her a certain air of gravitas, which was important when dealing with the recently bereaved. Mrs. Mortimer was socially challenged, and her older brother frequently found himself in the position of trying to placate the people she’d offended, often by doing nothing more than staring. When her brother got the idea to give her a camera, it finally connected her with the world. Mrs. Mortimer discovered she could scrutinize people without putting them off. She felt especially connected with those who had recently lost a loved one and taking photographs of their dead allowed her to help the families bear witness.
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