When a partly decomposed finger is discovered on George Mellot's farm, Detective Inspector C.D. Sloan--with irritating sidekick Crosby--is led into a long, tedious search for the rest of the body. He does eventually find most of the remains. . . but not the head. So the identification of the corpse occupies almost the whole story here. Is the dead man Martin Ritchie, a Mellot neighbor who left his wife and ran off with another woman? (He hasn't been seen since.) Or is it perhaps financier Ivor Harbeton, who dropped from sight after attempting (in vain) to take over the Mellots' clothing company? And what's the involvement of a tramp lurking in nearby woods? Sloan and his minions talk to everyone--including the Mellots' farm manager, who seems to be hiding something. But the windup is prosaic; the people are unengaging; and Aird's customary style--the mannered prose, the slow pace--results in a dull, ponderous slog this time around.