New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967. First edition. Hardcover. 236 pages ; 21 cm. $3.95 dust jacket. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!
by P. D. JAMES
To all outward appearances that small village of Monksmere on the Suffolk coast was the most peaceful place in the world; and his Aunt Jane's house there was where Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh could most easily get rid of the deadening accumulation of crime and red tape which constituted his daily routine at Scotland Yard. Under the high windblown sky where the North Sea and East Anglia meet, he could forget it all, he thought, and devote his time to long walks and a little desultory birdwatching. Should ornithology pall, the local literary set would no doubt provide him with mildly entertaining diversion. As it turned out, however, the diversion it provided could hardly be described as mild. Maurice Seton may have passed his prime as a crime writer, but his final appearance—mutilated and very dead in a drifting dinghy—certainly ensured for him the undivided and serious attention of the local police force. Protocol of course inhibited Dalgliesh at first from playing more than the role of expert spectator, but in the end it was his knowledge of two very different London worlds—Bloomsbury publishing and Soho striptease—that provided the first real clues; and precipitated the macabre climax during a night of storm-ridden horror in which all questions were finally answered.
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