Clanger Bell, Breckham Market’s well-known drunk, is run over and killed as he staggers across the street at closing time. It seems to everyone – to town residents, the police, and to Clanger’s only relative, his sister Miss Eunice Bell – that his death was an accident, brought upon himself by his drunken folly. Certainly no one blames the unfortunate driver, a newly rich and newly married man called Jack Goodrum who has recently bought a large house in the town. So when Miss Bell changes her mind, and calls in Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Quantrill and his attractive Sergeant, Hilary Lloyd, to announce that she is convinced that the ‘accident’ was in fact murder, the two detectives are reluctant to take her seriously.
Subsequent events, however, prove serious indeed. A nasty robbery and a brutal killing send Quantrill and Hilary probing the lives of local people, and uncovering disturbing depths of hatred and bitterness. Quantrill’s own private life at this time is also full of disturbing emotions: resentment of ageing, secret yearning for Hilary, anger with his rebellious teenage son . . .
Sheila Radley has a novelist’s fascination with character and motive, as well as an acute eye for landscape, and this is the sixth novel in her highly successful, and superbly well written, series featuring Douglas Quantrill, his family and his colleagues on the Breckham Market police force. Private conflicts, old grievances, tragic accidents and misdirected love – these explosive ingredients combine in Sheila Radley’s powerful story to shatter the life and happiness of more than one family in the peaceful Suffolk market town.