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A final adventure for the late author's barrister-sleuth Antony Maitland (Most Deadly Hate, etc., etc.) and, happily, one of her best. Antony is defending Emile Letendre, a young Frenchman accused of killing his father Georges. A half-dozen witnesses will testify against the defendant in what appears to be an open-and-shut case. They're mainly a group of friends who were dining at the home of Georges' sister and brother-in-law, Francoise and Alan Johnson, on the fateful night. Georges, on a visit from France to oversee the London branch of his business (run by Emile), excused himself and his son, then went to the study where an argument took place--ending with Emile slamming out the front door and, according to the other guests, Georges lying bludgeoned to death on the floor. Alerted by an old friend of the victim, Antony tries to veer the testimony toward making the jury aware that this outwardly proper clutch of witnesses--and a few other friends supposedly absent that night--often engaged in some mighty exotic doings in the cellar of the staid Johnson house. Eventually, his dramatic success turns the case around. Antony's wife Jenny, Uncle Nicholas, Aunt Vera, friends Meg and Roger take very minor roles this time round, and Antony ends his career with a case focused on the courtroom--where he always shone brightest.

Pub Date: March 24th, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's