The setting for this novel is a post World War I Britain: still reeling from the combined effects of war and the influenza epidemic of 1918.
A local family in Surrey has been massacred in what appears to be a robbery gone wrong. Enter Inspector John Madden, a veteran of the trenches, who has lost his wife and young daughter to in the influenza epidemic.
This is Rennie Airth's debut novel, and provides an insight into the emotional after effects of war and personal loss together with an exploration of then contemporary psychiatric theory to try to understand, explain and predict the killer's behaviour.
Well developed characters and tight plotting make this an enjoyable, albeit suspenseful, read.