From the top of the stairs, a little girl of five overhears an argument in
the sitting-room below, between her father and a late-night visitor.
Frightened and uncertain she dared not descend the staircase but sat
trembling at the top, unable to return to bed. Her father is killed. She did
not see the killer and cannot remember clearly the content of the
conversation, but she remembers the killer’s voice.
Twenty years later she recognises the voice, identifies its owner and sets
out to take her revenge. The first part of her plan succeeds, and her quarry
goes to gaol for six months, but in putting into action the second part, she
disappears. Her husband reports her missing, a search is instigated. The
police authorities in Worcester believe that Inspector Wickfield is the best
man for the job, but he seems to do nothing but stumble from one blind alley
to another. His investigation leads him and his sergeant, Spooner, to
interview a businessman in Spain, a dotty clergyman, a cashiered army major,
a gushing hypnotherapist, a horsey countrywoman and a seedy cabinetmaker, in
an attempt to unravel the sequence of events – oh, and there is an important
interlude in Scotland - but enlightenment comes only when Wickfield’s wife
cracks a philosophical joke.
In this work of detective fiction, Julius Falconer delights his readers yet
again with a deliciously teasing and ingenious plot, laced with comments on
life, the universe and everything – and that, of course, includes revenge.
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