In the opening paragraph of the novel a murderer describes the process of picking up an unknown girl in a club prior to strangling her, and admits to disposing of nine others in similar manner. The murderer then returns to Crestcote House, a gothic mansion which has been turned into a peaceful retreat for ‘artists of recognised stature'.
The community comprises an eccentric composer, a reclusive iron-worker, a beautiful sculptress, a discontented novelist, and three assorted painters, one female, two male. The lord of this remarkable manor is a philanderer, and the place is known locally (and not surprisingly) as Crackpot Castle. No one suspects, however, that one of the denizens is a serial killer.
And no one need ever have suspected if the killer had not elected to play a practical joke on fellow residents which led to a spate of lies, an unsuccessful blackmail attempt – and another killing.
This time Chief Inspector Tom Pennard is very much on the scene. Under his questioning suspicion flickers like a will-o'-the-wisp from one person to the next, while all the time the murderer, anonymous and supposedly secure, offers the reader a first-hand commentary on the unfolding of events, leading to a dramatic unmasking in the final paragraphs of this cunningly plotted story.
by Philip Loraine
by Loraine Despres
by Philip Caputo
by Mark Twain
by Charles Dickens
by Frederick Douglass
by Alexis de Tocqueville
by Elizabeth Gaskell
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