Wessex is retired - or would be, if murder and danger would only leave him alone.
The impossible has happened. Chief Inspector Reg Wexford has retired. He and his wife now divide their time between Kingsmarkham and a coachhouse in Hampstead belonging to their actress daughter, Sheila. For all the benefits of a more relaxed way of life, Wexford misses being the law. But a chance meeting in a London street, with someone he had known briefly as a very young police constable, changes everything. Tom Ede is now a Detective Superintendent, and is very keen to recruit Wexford as an adviser on a difficult case.
The bodies of two women and a man have been discovered in the old coal hole of an attractive house in St John's Wood. None carries identification. But the man's jacket pockets contain a string of pearls, a diamond and a sapphire necklace as well as other jewellery valued in the region of 40,000. Wexford is intrigued and excited by the challenge - until this new investigative role brings him into serious physical danger.
Ruth Rendell has won many awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for 1976’s best crime novel with A Demon in My View; a second Edgar in 1984 from the Mystery Writers of America for the best short story, 'The New Girl Friend' and a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986. She was also the winner of the 1990 Sunday Times Literary award, as well as the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.