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Two children have been murdered. When a third is discovered – the tortured body of ten-year-old Ted Lister – the Home Counties police are compelled to escalate their search for the killer, and Operation Huntsman is intensified. Meanwhile, a new master arrives at Trenchard House School. Kenneth Manifold, a man with a penchant for discipline, keeps a close eye on the boys, particularly Jared Sacher, son of the Israeli ambassador.
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Born in Lincolnshire, England, Michael Francis Gilbert graduated in law from the University of London in 1937, shortly after which he first spent some time teaching at a prep-school which was followed by six years serving with the Royal Horse Artillery. During World War II he was captured following service in North Africa and Italy, and his prisoner-of-war experiences later leading to the writing of the acclaimed novel 'Death in Captivity' in 1952. After the war, Gilbert worked as a solicitor in London, but his writing continued throughout his legal career and in addition to novels he wrote stage plays and scripts for radio and television. He is, however, best remembered for his novels, which have been described as witty and meticulously-plotted espionage and police procedural thrillers, but which exemplify realism. HRF Keating stated that 'Smallbone Deceased' was amongst the 100 best crime and mystery books ever published. "The plot," wrote Keating, "is in every way as good as those of Agatha Christie at her best: as neatly dovetailed, as inherently complex yet retaining a decent credibility, and as full of cunningly-suggested red herrings." It featured Chief Inspector Hazlerigg, who went on to appear in later novels and short stories, and another series was built around Patrick Petrella, a London based police constable (later promoted) who was fluent in four languages and had a love for both poetry and fine wine. Other memorable characters around which Gilbert built stories included Calder and Behrens. They are elderly but quite amiable agents, who are nonetheless ruthless and prepared to take on tasks too much at the dirty end of the business for their younger colleagues. They are brought out of retirement periodically upon receiving a bank statement containing a code. Much of Michael Gilbert's writing was done on the train as he travelled from home to his office in London: "I always take a latish train to work," he explained in 1980, "and, of course, I go first class. I have no trouble in writing because I prepare a thorough synopsis beforehand.". After retirement from the law, however, he nevertheless continued and also reviewed for 'The Daily Telegraph', as well as editing 'The Oxford Book of Legal Anecdotes'. Gilbert was appointed CBE in 1980. Generally regarded as 'one of the elder statesmen of the British crime writing fraternity', he was a founder-member of the British Crime Writers' Association and in 1988 he was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, before receiving the Lifetime 'Anthony' Achievement award at the 1990 Boucheron in London. Michael Gilbert died in 2006, aged ninety three, and was survived by his wife and their two sons and five daughters.Review:
"One of the best detective writers to appear since the war." (BBC)
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Book Description Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1976. First Edition. A bright, tidy copy in tight binding. Very light foxing on page fore-edge. Dust jacket not price clipped; covered in wrinkled protective removable clear film. Used - Very Good. VG hardback in VG dust jacket. Seller Inventory # BOOKS254684I
Book Description Hodder & Stoughton, 1976. 0340206470, 1976. 1st edn. 8vo. Original gilt lettered blue cloth (page edges lightly spotted - otherwise bright VG), dustwrapper (spine sunned; lightly chipped at head of spine - otherwise VG in protective wrapper, not price clipped). Pp. 223 (previous owner's ink inscription on front pastedown). Seller Inventory # 113856
Book Description Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1976. Blue Cloth. Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. 0340206470 223pp. A lovely copy of this first edition, published in 1976 and in a very good minus wrapper. Gilt embossed lettering to the spine. There is a strip of toning to the extreme lower edge of the spine and boards, where the wrapper has sat a little high. Fresh and clean. Dust wrapper not price clipped with a little fading to the spine of the wrapper. There is a short tear of 6 mm to the head of the spine , and one to the head of the rear panel, both now expertly repaired. Some rubbing to the wrapper at the head fo the spine and to one corner of the wrapper, with slight loss. A well preserved copy of this book in a very good wrapper. Shipping from the UK. Seller Inventory # 224847
Book Description Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1976. Hard Cover with Dust Jacket. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. VG, Shelfwear, spine lean, dealer stamp, ink prices, date stamp, edge-abrasion, foxing, light browning/VG, Edgewear, tears, crease, abrasion, light foxing. Crime thriller. Jacket design by Colin Andrews. Expanded condition report/photo on request. Seller Inventory # 030866
Book Description Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1976. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. First edition first printing of this stand alone thriller. There are two tape stains one on the first free end page the second on the reverse side of the dust jacket. Price clipped otherwise in very good / very good condition. Seller Inventory # 19086
Book Description Hodder & Stoughton, 1976. First Edition. A few spots of foxing on page fore-edge; dust jacket not price-clipped, but with slight fading to spine Used - Very Good. VG hardback in VG dust jacket. Seller Inventory # BOOKS237347I
Book Description Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1976. Rilegato. Condition: buono. Buono Stato, copertina leggermente consuta. Seller Inventory # ENG 0930
Book Description Hodder, 1976. 1st edition a VG+ book in a VG+ dw. No marks and not price clipped. Seller Inventory # 35779
Book Description Hodder & Stoughton, London: UK, 1976. Hard Cover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. 1st ed., very light wear else fine in dust jacket, lightly sunned at spine, small fold at rear panel. Book. Seller Inventory # 018639
Book Description Harper & Row, 1976. Hardcover. Condition: Good. First Edition - may be Reissue. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be ex-library. Shipping & Handling by region. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0340206470