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George Potter is a stick-in-the-mud, a prig, a martinet, a petty tyrant to his hapless charges in the Weston Secondary School. He is not, however, a murderous child molester, though the police have reason to believe so. The evidence is clear and damning. First, a briefcase stolen from George is parked on the steps of the police station salted with an envelope of pornographic photos. Then Chief Inspector Rosewall hears of an accusation against George by Alex Pelham, a student who was actually trying to cover his truancy and avenge himself on a casual tormentor by telling his mum that Mr. Potter had offered him a ride home and looked at him funny. But the third strike is George's possible implication in the killing of Daisy Beale, who toddled down the road to a neighbor's house and was never seen alive again. Rosewall has to turn George loose for lack of evidence; but to save his teaching job, his place in a community suddenly baying for his blood, and his self-respect, George decides he has to find the killer himself. Gilpin's third (Death of a Fantasy Life, 1993, etc.) features routine detective work enlivened by the careful portrait of unlovable George and an ugly, though unsurprising, final revelation.

Pub Date: Dec. 14th, 1995
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's