Searching for truffles in a wood, a man and his dog unearth something less savoury: a human hand. The body, as Chief Inspector Wexford is informed later, has lain buried for 10 years or so, wrapped in a purple cotton sheet. The post mortem cannot reveal the precise cause of death. The only clue is a crack in one of the dead man’s ribs.
The police computer stores a long list of missing persons: something like 500 people every day disappear nationwide. So Wexford knows he is going to have a job on his hands to identify the corpse.
And then, only about 20 yards away from the woodland burial site, another body is found.
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