Simon Serrailler has just wrapped up a particularly exhausting and difficult case for SIFT - Special Incident Flying Taskforce - and is on a sabbatical on a far flung Scottish island when he is called back by the Chief Constable before his leave is due to end. Two local prostitutes have gone missing and are subsequently found strangled. By the time he gets back, another girl has disappeared. Is this a vendetta against prostitutes by someone with a warped mind ? Or a series of killings by an angry punter?
But then the wife of the new Dean of St Michael's Cathedral goes missing, followed by another respectable young married woman, on her way to the early shift at work. Is this all the work of one serial killer?
Serailler follows lead after lead, all of which become dead-ends. The fear is that more women will be killed, and that the murderer is right under their noses; meanwhile the public grow more angry and afraid. It is only through a piece of luck, a chance meeting and a life put in grave danger that he finally gets a result.
Susan Hill has a genius for evoking atmosphere and suspense, and her characters are so real that the reader is caught up not only in the mystery but in the drama of their lives, in this her most electrifying crime novel yet.