A brilliant crime fiction debut, which introduces a sparky new double act in Inspector Joseph Rafferty and Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn.
Inspector Rafferty is under pressure. Not only has he got his Ma on his case – expecting him to spring a distant cousin from the cells, but the naked body of a teenaged girl has been found in the grounds of Elmhurst, a private psychiatric hospital. And with the help of upright Welsh sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn he must track down the killer. But Rafferty’s first murder case since his promotion is not going to be easy. The girl’s face has been mutilated beryond recognition. And Elmhurst’s owner Dr Anthony Melville-Briggs – the suave social climber who thinks his wife’s money can buy everything, including the police – claims he has no idea who the victim might be. Perhaps, he suggests, the killing might be the work of a jealous rival doctor.
Rafferty takes an instant and deep dislike to Dr Melville-Briggs and his high-ranking connections. His desire to prove the arrogant doctor guilty of murder begins to border on obsession. Sergeant Llewellyn, however, doesn’t share the Inspector’s conviction – the doctor has a seemingly solid alibi. Then the identity of the girl is finally discovered, and a whole host of new suspects emerge – each with a motive that gives the police plenty to think about. It is only when Rafferty remembers his forgotten promise to his Ma that he go to see the cousin still languishing in the cells, that he gets his just reward. He begins to turn the case around in time to get the press and an angry superintendent off their backs.