Author(s): Ruth Rendell
Sarah Hussain was not popular with many people in the community of Kingsmarkham. She was born of mixed parents - a white Irishwoman and an immigrant Indian Hindu. She was also the Reverend of St Peter's church. But it came as a profound shock to everyone when she was found strangled in the vicarage. A garrulous cleaner, Maxine, also shared by the Wexfords, discovers the body. In his comparatively recent retirement, the former Detective Chief Inspector, is devoting much time to reading, and is deep into Edward Gibbons's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He has little patience with Maxine's prattle. But when his old friend Mike Burden asks if he might like to assist on this case, as Crime Solutions Adviser (unpaid), Wexford is obliged to pay more precise attention to all available information. The old instincts have not been blunted by a life, where he and Dora divide their time between London and Kingsmarkham. Wexford retains a relish for work and a curiosity about people which is invaluable in detective work. For all his experience and sophistication, Burden tends to jump to conclusions. But he is wise enough to listen to the man whose office he inherited, and whose experience makes him a most formidable ally.