Fearless journalist Clive Grail is bent on uncovering a scandal of blue films and blackmail in respectable Flaxborough. But when he publishes his revelations of the town's murky past he finds himself at the hub of a much more chilling and sinister crime.
imprecations, which grew less articulate as they gained in ire, Mr Dampier-Small drank three cups of strong coffee and composed himself to re-read the Herald’s article more attentively. He was by now in a mood to hope that allegations which had so grievously offended Mr Hockley were true—indeed, that they might prove the mere tip of a monstrous iceberg of moral delinquency that would crush once and for all the vulgar self-righteousness of the mayor and burgesses of Flaxborough. Meanwhile, the
mirror. Oncoming drivers—and there were very few at this time of day—went by too quickly to be of much account as potential witnesses; one intent on overtaking, though, would be far more likely to memorize details. “What was bothering me,” said the rug, “in that awful hideout—apart from snakes and rats—was a pronounced doubt of how reliable those other two are. Why should they take this kind of a risk on my account?” “Why should I, for that matter?” There was silence for a while, then:
the sake of realism has now made it too damned real.” She clenched her hand. “Christ, of all the moments to pick to...” Lanching completed the tailed-off sentence. “...to die?” “I can just imagine,” Birdie said, “a policeman’s face when we explain that because a blue film scandal proved not to be scandalous after all we first fixed up a phony kidnapping and then made it look real by extorting fifteen thousand quid out of our employers, at which moment the supposed kidnappee happened to drop
comes out of the affair very badly,” asserted the chief constable. “He seems to have given us no help at all.” Purbright gave a slight shrug. “He was a very frightened man—particularly when he learned of Henry Bush’s murder. His first reaction was to ask if the person responsible had been caught.” “Was he not aware that Becket was in the town at that moment?” “Oh, no; he had no idea, sir. And until he heard that Bush had been killed, it probably had not occurred to Pearce that anyone outside
six yards’ distance, parked close to the West Row corner, was an elderly green Bedford. One rear door was open, trailing half a yard of pink material. “That’s not premises,” the policeman said. The salesman began parcelling a folded cloth length in a sheet of newspaper. “Not a slaughterhouse, neither,” he remarked to the woman nearest him. The woman glanced at PC Cowdrey and tittered. Emboldened by this show of disrespect, two of the customers embarked on a spirited debate—ostensibly between