In the opening paragraph of the novel a murderer describes the process of picking up an unknown girl in a club prior to strangling her, and admits to disposing of nine others in similar manner. The murderer then returns to Crestcote House, a gothic mansion which has been turned into a peaceful retreat for ‘artists of recognised stature’.The community comprises an eccentric composer, a reclusive iron-worker, a beautiful sculptress, a discontented novelist, and three assorted painters, one female, two male. The lord of this remarkable manor is a philanderer, and the place is known locally (and not surprisingly) as Crackpot Castle. No one suspects, however, that one of the denizens is a serial killer.And no one need ever have suspected if the killer had not elected to play a practical joke on fellow residents which led to a spate of lies, an unsuccessful blackmail attempt – and another killing.This time Chief Inspector Tom Pennard is very much on the scene. Under his questioning suspicion flickers like a will-o’-the-wisp from one person to the next, while all the time the murderer, anonymous and supposedly secure, offers the reader a first-hand commentary on the unfolding of events, leading to a dramatic unmasking in the final paragraphs of this cunningly plotted story.
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