In the 1870s, the future Inspector Brunt is on his way home after a reprimand when he has a disturbing encounter with George Ludlam, an enigmatic, taciturn man, intent on reaching one of Derbyshire’s more remote villages. Then news reaches HQ that this man’s arrival has terrified some of the villagers. Who is he? Who used he to be? And why has he come back?
Brunt is sent to carry out an investigation, thus distracting him from the pursuit of Amelia Pilkington, a confidence trickster who lives off the hydropathic society of the time, but the affair becomes public when a woman is murdered and George Ludlam is the obvious suspect.
Few readers will succeed in beating Sergeant Nadin and Constable Brunt to the solution to the mystery.
‘A powerful period piece against a backcloth of crude murder, the coming of age of an unusual constable, the subtle deflation of a pompous inspector, plus a mid-Victorian con-woman who can melt a heart of stone. The author’s own concluding confidence trick is not bad either.’ Observer
‘An atmospherically gripping historical chiller’ The Times