A subtle and powerful work of contemporary fiction. Combe Island off the Cornish coast has a bloodstained history of piracy and cruelty but now, privately owned, it offers respite to over-stressed men and women in positions of high authority who require privacy and guaranteed security. But the peace of Combe is violated when one of the distinguished visitors is bizarrely murdered. Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team are called on to solve a sensitive high profile case on Combe Island off the Cornish coast of England at a time when Dalgliesh is dealing with his uncertain future with Emma Lavenham, the woman he loves; Detective Inspector Kate Miskin has her own emotional problems; and the ambitious Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith is worried about working under Kate. Hardly has the team begun to unravel the complicated motives of the suspects when there is a second brutal killing, and the whole investigation is jeopardized when Dalgliesh is faced with a danger more insidious and as potentially fatal as murder. This eagerly awaited successor to the international bestseller The Murder Room displays all the qualities that lovers of P.D. James's novels the world over have come to expect: sensitive characterization, an exciting and superbly structured plot and vivid evocation of place.