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Detective-Inspector Benjamin Jurnet is in that most common predicament of the human condition: desperately in love. Torn between joy and trepidation about his reunion with his beloved Miriam after a year's separation, he decides to take her on a drive to Lanthrop, a quaint English village with a lovely strip of beach along the sea. It is to be something of a holiday, even though Jurnet-once a copper, always a copper-does plan to stop by the dig where an archaeologist has complained that someone is tampering with the relics of Queen Boadicea. Jurnet and Miriam find a retreat made for lovers, but pleasure abruptly turns back to business when a brown, leathery arm, ending in a hand flexed like a beckoning claw, rears out of the sand like an accusation. The arm is attached to a body that is decidedly dead.
In his ensuing investigation, Jurnet discovers that life in scenic Lanthrop is not as idyllic as it appears. A murder, a probably suicide, and a herd of pedigree goats with their throats slashed all prove that there throats slashed all prove that there is far more buried in the picturesque village than an archaeological treasure.
As his work separates him from Miriam yet again, Jurnet must confront the intricacies of love and desire. For love sometimes leads to murder, and it is only by probing the mysteries of the human heart - including his own - that Jurnet can find the solutions in this powerful and deeply satisfying novel of detection.
'S. T. Haymon is a strong, heated writer who does not flinch from entering uneasy territory.' Spectator
Haymon is one of the most elegant writers around; her characters are complex and interesting, plotting is exact, and she has unerring feel for place.' The Times
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"One of the purest lyric voices in the mystery field" New York Times Book Review
Sylvia Theresa Haymon was born in Norwich, and is best known for her eight crime fiction novels featuring the character Inspector Ben Jurnet. Haymon also wrote two non-fiction books for children, as well as two memoirs of her childhood in East Anglia.
The Ben Jurnet series enjoyed success in both the UK and the US during Haymon's lifetime: Ritual Murder (1982) won the prestigious CWA Silver Dagger Award from the Crime Writers' Association. Stately Homicide (1984), a skilful variation on the country house mystery, was praised by the New York Times as a 'brilliantly crafted novel of detection...stylish serious fiction', and favourably compared to the work of Dorothy L. Sayers.
Another gem in the author's series of novels featuring Detective Inspector Ben Jurnet (A Very Particular Murder, 1989, etc.) of the Angleby CID. This time out, Ben has taken his beloved, elusive Miriam, just returned from Israel, to a little-visited beach outside the tiny village of Lanthrop. It's she who discovers the corpse, partially buried in sand, later to be identified as Annie Chance--mother of dimwitted, 18-year-old Tim; housekeeper to young widow Hannah Milburn; and lover to married woodsman Oz Bailey. Annie had been thought by the whole village to have taken off with a traveling salesman weeks before. Possible connections to the nearby archaeological site run by Paul Abbott, who's in love with Hannah Milburn, and to a local goat-farm whose owner has recently died of AIDS lead nowhere. The case is in limbo when the sudden appearance of the long-sought traveling salesman recasts the timetable of Annie's last day--and sends Jurnet racing back to Lanthrop, just in time to prevent another killing. At times a bit verbose, but Haymon's wonderful mix of literacy, humor, psychological depth, and storytelling magic put her in the very top echelon of writers in the genre. A dazzling performance. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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