Combe Island off the Cornish coast has a bloodstained history of piracy and cruelty, but now, privately owned, it offers respite to overstressed men and women in positions of high authority who require privacy and guaranteed security. But the peace of Combe is violated when one of the distinguished visitors is bizarrely murdered.
Adam Dalgliesh is called in to solve the mystery quickly and discreetly but at a difficult time for him and his depleted team. Dalgliesh is uncertain about his future with Emma Lavenham, the woman he loves; Detective Inspector Kate Miskin has her own emotional problems; and the ambitious Anglo Indian, Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith, is worried about working under Kate.
Hardly have the team begun to unravel the complicated motives of the suspects than there is a second brutal killing, and the whole investigation is jeopardised when Dalgliesh is faced with a danger more insidious and as potentially fatal as murder.
P. D. James (1920-2014) was a best-selling and internationally acclaimed crime writer. She was the creator of Adam Dalgliesh and Cordelia Gray and their long and successful series of mysteries. Her works include Cover Her Face (1962), An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972), Innocent Blood (1980), The Children of Men (1992), and the Jane Austen-inspired Death Comes to Pemberley (2011).
James was born in Oxford in 1920. She won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected president of the Society of Authors and stood down from this role in 2013.
"P. D. James at her finest." (Daily Mail)
"P. D. James on top form and you will love it." (Spectator)
"Formidable, classy whodunit...superlative scene-setting...expert, adroit and entertaining." (Literary Review)
"Tightly structured and well-plotted and has enough twists, turns and false leaps to keep one gripped throughout." (Mail on Sunday)
"James's people, places and plots are as artful as ever...long may she reign." (Guardian)
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