Staunton walked out into the field. He stopped about twenty yards in, squatted down on his haunches and stared at the ditch where the girl’s body had been found. Then he was motionless for a while, absorbing the details of the place, picturing it in darkness, the girl, her screams muffled by the murderer’s hand, being dragged along the inside of the hedge, struggling madly in the last moments of her life.
He picked up a clod of dry earth, broke it in his hand and let the soil trickle through his fingers. He spoke out loud, aiming his words at his unknown quarry, ‘I’m going to get you, you bastard,’ he said.’
It is 1975 and there are no sophisticated aids to help shrewd and earthy Chief-Superintendent Staunton of Scotland Yard and his amorous young assistant, Detective Inspector Wyndsor when they arrive in a time-warped East Anglian village to investigate the death of a local girl.
While most of the villagers were silently doing their best to hinder the enquiry, including the unhelpful local squire and his glamorous but sinister daughter, Wyndsor made a shocking discovery—a black magic chapel, which had as its altar-piece a huge phallus.
This is a place where old ways still hold sway, where animosities are pursued through the generations and where outsiders are viewed with the utmost suspicion.
Here the murderer lives, embedded in this introverted society. On several occasions as the search proceeds the reader is aware that they are looking at the murderer—without the possibility of identification—and it becomes increasingly certain that he will kill again unless Staunton and Wyndsor can stop him.