[London: Allison & Busby Limited, 2002]. First edition. Fine in dust jacket. Superintendent Mike Yeadings recognizes the exquisitely dressed corpse found in Shotters Wood, once her feathered mask has been removed, as local shopkeeper Leila Knightley. But notifying Leila's family proves difficult. Her philandering husband Aidan, is off canoodling somewhere; her stepdaughter Chloe, secretly writhing with frightful snippets of memory, is visiting her grandmother in France; and her brother Charles is away in Scotland. When the Knightleys return home, Aidan refuses to account for his absence, and he recognizes the death-dress as belonging to Chloe, but Chloe doesn't recognize it at all ... except to connect it somehow to bruises on her inner thighs and a terrible hangover. Whose dress was it? Sir Arthur Waites, spotting it in a newspaper article, thinks he bought it for his invalid wife years ago ... news that draws Yeadings to Waites' stately home in Henley, where a bookmaker's thugs act as bouncers at gambling evenings and a drug-damaged son croons lullabies to his incapacitated mum, then suffocates her. Yeadings will have to consider the grill on a Mercedes, a fistful of gambling IOUs and more of Chloe's resurfacing memories before he can determine exactly why Leila had to die and at whose hand.
Inventory Number: 18020