After the hottest summer for years the wet autumn that follows is one that Chief Superintendent Charmian Daniels will look back on as the worst of her life. The success of her last case has proved a double-edged sword, for while it has brought her promotion and respect from some colleagues, in others it has caused deep resentment and made her some bitter enemies.
Then a young girl, who called herself Nella Fisher, is found dead outside the home of two of Charmian's closest friends. Nella had been visiting them for some time, warning them of danger from a person who hates them. But before she will reveal that person's identity she demands payment, so the women send her away. Now Nella has been murdered - is she a victim of the watcher's anger, or has she pushed the patience of Charmian's friends too far?
Charmian's feelings of unease strengthen when the hatred shown in the threatening letters and mail she receives fever pitch. And she has the feeling she's being watched. Not that she's seen anyone, but the lingering smell of cigar smoke around her house tells her that someone has been there. Even the police protection she reluctantly accepts can't put her completely at her ease. After all, there are some nasty elements in this case. Police corruption being one of them.
Braving the threats against her life and wary even of her closest friends and colleagues, Charmian persists with her hunt for the killer. A look into her past leads her to confront him face to face, but justice is not done until Charmian has suffered almost the ultimate humiliation . . .
Jennie Melville's new Charmian Daniels mystery is a strong and devious book which keeps the reader guessing until the last venomous twist.
Jennie Melville, a pseudonym for Gwendoline Butler, was born and brought up in south London, and was one of the most universally praised of English mystery authors. She wrote over fifty novels under both names. Educated at Haberdashers, she read history at Oxford, and later married Dr Lionel Butler, Principal of Royal Holloway College. She had one daughter, who survives her.
Gwendoline Butler's crime novels are hugely popular in both Britain and the United States, and her many awards included the Crime Writers' Association's Silver Dagger. She was also selected as being one of the top two hundred crime writers in the world by The Times.