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The twenty-second book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford. Wexford had almost made up his mind that he would never again set eyes on Eric Targo's short, muscular figure. And yet there he was, back in Kingsmarkham, still with that cocky, strutting walk. Years earlier, when Wexford was a young police officer, a woman called Elsie Carroll had been found strangled in her bedroom.
Although many still had their suspicions that her husband was guilty of her violent murder, no one was convicted. Another woman was strangled shortly afterwards, and every personal and professional instinct told Wexford that the killer was still at large. And that it was Eric Targo. A psychopathic murderer who would kill again... As the Chief Inspector investigates a new case, Ruth Rendell looks back to the beginning of Wexford's career as a detective, even to his courtship of the woman who would become his wife.
The villainous Targo is not the only ghost from Wexford's past who has re-emerged to haunt him in the here and now...
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