Combe Island off the Cornish coast has a bloodstained history of piracy and cruelty but now, privately owned, it offers respite to over-stressed 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 when there is a second brutal killing and the whole investigation is jeopardised when Dalgliesh is faced with a danger more insidious and potentially as fatal as murder.
This eagerly awaited successor to THE MURDER ROOM displays the qualities which aficionados have come to expect of P.D. James: sensitive characterisation, an exciting and superbly structured plot and a wonderfully vivid evocation of place.
"The greatest pleasure James offers us is the spectacle, one seldom offered in fiction, of two fine minds working: one is Dalgleish's, the other is her own" - Sunday Times
"James’s gifts animate and transform the armature into something exceptional. Her disciplined conventions, her observation of social and class niceties, renew the traditional Franco-British drama of domestic crime. She is a very superior writer of detection." - Times Literary Supplement