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The body of a well-liked local historian is found half-buried under a drystone wall near the village of Helmthorpe, Swainsdale. Who on earth would want to kill such a thoughtful, dedicated man? Penny Cartwright, a beautiful folk singer with a mysterious past, a shady land-developer, Harry’s editor and a local thriller writer are all suspects–and all are figures from Harry’s previous, idyllic summers in the dale. A young girl, Sally Lumb, knows more than she lets on, and her knowledge could lead to danger. Inspector Banks’s second case unearths disturbing secrets behind a bucolic facade.
“P.D. James, Reginald Hill and Ruth Rendell may be writing as fast as they can. But what are devotees of the English country mystery supposed to be reading betweentimes? A superior new series by Peter Robinson should do nicely.” — Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“This story makes you understand why readers get addicted to genre mysteries–when they are good, they are very, very good.” — Stuart Miller, Booklist (* starred review)
“The atmosphere of the drowsy, slow moving countryside disturbed by alien violence is splendidly evoked.” — Marcel Berlins, The Times (London)
“Move over Agatha Christie. With his second novel…Peter Robinson has proven himself a master of the classic murder mystery….Robinson is picture perfect in his description of the Yorkshire dale and his tale abounds with enough ‘characters’ to keep Charles Dickens happy.” — Montreal Daily News
“The second in the Inspector Banks series…fulfils the promise of Robinson’s first novel…and serves notice that Canada has another fine mystery writer who could quickly become the best the country has to offer.” — Alta Vista Magazine
“Robinson vividly evokes English village life and the passions animating both its residents and the police who protect them.” — Publishers Weekly
“The plot…contains all the ingredients of a first class mystery — desire, greed, deception, and adultery.” — Mostly Murder