The Green Frontier

John Buxton Hilton

09 August 2012
170 pages


An eminent Lutheran pastor comes to England to take part in an investigative TV documentary called Crucible and is caught shop-lifting in the West End. He tries to demand that his case be handled by Superintendent Kenworthy, but Kenworthy has retired and it is decided not to bother him – until Pastor Pagendarm is found murdered on the edge of a Hertfordshire wood. Kenworthy is puzzled, until a meeting with the pastor’s widow brings back memories of his days in wartime Intelligence.

But this is not a spy story, nor does it repeat the usual clichés about Nazi Germany. It is a patient and sensitive search for the long tap-roots of evil. The scenes in the ruins of immediate post-war Berlin are among the most atmospheric that John Buxton Hilton wrote and, as expected with this author, there are characters to remember: the foolish, honourable British brigadier, his shrewd and down-to-earth servant – and the charming, intelligent, ruthlessly amoral Anna-Maria.

In the tense denouement, Kenworthy uses the shooting script of Crucible to break the case, and after all the surprises there is another one still to come . . .