From British author Raymond (1931–94), the story of a nameless sergeant working for the Metropolitan Police’s department of unexpected deaths who is sent to a country town to investigate the case of a missing woman.
The sergeant is a man of philosophical bent, who has a passion for justice, though not necessarily the law, and little patience for orders that don’t suit him. The missing person is Marianne Mardy, a popular, vocally talented Frenchwoman, wife of a struck-off physician. Her disappearance was ignored by the police until someone wrote to the Chief Constable. A confrontational visit to the local cop shop convinces the sergeant that there’s more than one bent copper in a town that seems as dangerous and depressed as the worst of London’s slums. Dr. Mardy’s residence is a moldering mansion that only Poe could love. Certain that Marianne has died, the sergeant passes up the distraught doctor for less obvious suspects and what turn out to be myriad villainous schemes. Pitiless and not above using force, he methodically digs up the dirt, exposing a savage story of undying love and boundless greed.
The third in Raymond’s Factory series (The Devil’s Home on Leave, 2007, etc.)—wonderfully wrought, violent and bleak, not for the faint of heart—plumbs the darkest depths of British noir.