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Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team are confronted with a puzzle of impenetrable complexity. A murder has taken place in the offices of the Peverell Press, a venerable London publishing house located in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames. The victim is Gerard Etienne, the brilliant but ruthless new managing director, who had vowed to restore the firm's fortunes. Etienne was clearly a man with enemies–a discarded mistress, a rejected and humiliated author, and rebellious colleagues, one of who apparently killed herself a short time earlier. Yet Etienne's death, which occurred under bizarre circumstances, is for Dalgliesh only the beginning of the mystery, as he desperately pursues the search for a killer prepared to strike and strike again.
“Complex and compelling. . . . James is writing in full mastery of her craft.” —The New York Times Book Review
“One of James's best novels. . . . James transcends literary classification.” —Chicago Sun-Times
"The queen of the British murder mystery demonstrates why the crown is hers." —Newsday
"One of James's most savory fictions. . . . A marvelous tale." —San Francisco Chronicle
“One of her most enjoyable and vigorous novels.” —The Plain Dealer