The late author's final case for Detective Constable Brunt (The Quiet Stranger, 1985; etc.) is another of his finely crafted, psychologically acute police procedurals. In the early 1900's Walderslow village is isolated and provincial. Widower Horatio Brittlebank, local squire and landowner, shares his manor with reclusive housekeeper Charlotte Machin and spoiled, self-centered son Bernard, just home from Oxford and already the seducer of Mary Ann, daughter of Septimus and Ellen Durden, owners of run-down Slickensides farm and the old mine beneath it. Rumors of Bernard's departure for Canada, spread by a couple of strangers in the village; a reported break-in at the farm; and unexplained changes in the neighborhood's water-flow patterns lead Brunt to the discovery of Bernard's corpse in the old mine workings. The young man had a legion of enemies, so it takes all Brunt's patience and acumen to find the murderer and conjure up an unconventional justice. Believable characters, sound motivation, and solid evocation of time and place have been Hilton hallmarks. Slickensides is no exception. A fitting windup to a first-rate career in the British traditional genre.