The twenty-second book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
Wexford had almost made up his mind that he would never again set eyes on Eric Targo's short, muscular figure. And yet there he was, back in Kingsmarkham, still with that cocky, strutting walk.
Years earlier, when Wexford was a young police officer, a woman called Elsie Carroll had been found strangled in her bedroom. Although many still had their suspicions that her husband was guilty of her violent murder, no one was convicted.
Another woman was strangled shortly afterwards, and every personal and professional instinct told Wexford that the killer was still at large. And that it was Eric Targo. A psychopathic murderer who would kill again...
As the Chief Inspector investigates a new case, Ruth Rendell looks back to the beginning of Wexford's career as a detective, even to his courtship of the woman who would become his wife. The villainous Targo is not the only ghost from Wexford's past who has re-emerged to haunt him in the here and now...
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Yet further proof of Rendell's amazing criminal mastery - Evening Standard
[Targo] is as good a villain as Wexford ever tried to pin down . . . hauntingly nasty - Spectator
Targo haunted this world, as he haunts the reader: the monster is out of the box and it's impossible to put him back once this book has been closed - Independent
One of the best-written detective series in the genre's history . . . At any time we can return to Kingsmarkham to explore the darker side of humanity with Wexford as our reassuring and humane guide - Washington Post
Ruth Rendell is marvellous at psychological tension... She knits all the threads together with a casual flourish that shows veteran expertise - Sunday Times
One of the best-written detective series in the genre's history... At any time we can return to Kingsmarkham to explore the darker side of humanity with Wexford as our reassuring and humane guide - Washington Post
Ruth Rendell is the Queen of British crime writing. The author of over 50 novels, she has won many significant crime fiction awards. Her first novel, From Doon With Death, appeared in 1964, and since then her reputation and readership have grown steadily with each new book.
She has received major awards for her work; three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America; the Crime Writers' Gold Dagger Award for 1976's best crime novel, A Demon in My View; the Arts Council National Book Award for Genre Fiction in 1981 for The Lake of Darkness; the Crime Writer's Gold Dagger Award for 1986's best crime book for Live Flesh; in 1987 the Crime Writer's Gold Dagger Award for A Fatal Inversion and in 1991 the same award for King Solomon's Carpet, both written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine; the Sunday Times Literary Award in 1990; and in 1991 the Crime Writer's Cartier Diamond Award for outstanding contribution to the crime fiction genre.
Her books are translated into 21 languages. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.