Near Dartmoor, where the Hound of the Baskervilles once bayed, three children have been brutally murdered. Now Richard Jury must join forces with a hot-tempered constable to track down the killer.
The trail begins at a desolate pub, Help the Poor Struggler. It leads straight to the estate of Lady Jessica, a ten-year-old orphaned heiress who lives with her mysterious uncle and an ever-changing series of governesses. And as suspense spreads across the forbidding landscape, an old injustice returns to haunt Macalvie...with clues that link a murder in the distant pass with a killing yet to come.
"A superior writer." --The New York Times Book Review
"A star in the mystery genre...An elegant writer and inventor of dazzling plots." --Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is a complicated story about how revenge can become the abiding force in a life, and, conversely, how deciding to care aobut someone else can make even the most damaged person capable of strength and greatness.
Help the Poor Struggler is, not surprisingly in a book from the Richard Jury series, a pub. Molly Singer wears off the rack Oxfam clothes. She will not speak to the police. The latest victim is Angela Thorne. She is wrapped in a cape belonging to Molly Singer. It seems that Molly Singer is Mary Mulvanney, a daughter of the years-ago murder victim.
It is pleasant to read a Richard Jury mystery because he appears complete with ensemble players. Half-way through this book Melrose Plant turns up at the Jack and Hammer along with the Long Piddleton antiques dealer, Marshall Trueblood. Jessica Ashcroft, a child and Jury's candidate for next victim, is all ready to service Plant's Rolls Royce which fails just outside the wall of the Ashcroft manor house. She claims to know about cars and welcomes him into the premises which is the plan as conceived by Plant and Jury.
Chief Superintendent Racer is concerned over the nonsolution of the cases. As Jury continues his investigation he surmises that the cases are connected since the sites, Princeton, Clerihew Marsh, and Wynchcoombe are equidistant from each other and from Ascroft Manor. Simon's stepmother has an Ashcroft connection it is ascertained. The vicar of Wynchcoombe is related too.
The story is well-plotted. This is a lovely book. The character of the child, Jessica Ashcroft, is just right.