The body of a young man, almost naked, found in the car park behind a Haworth restaurant marks the beginning of the case, and it is his identity that is the first puzzle for DC Charlie Peace and his superior, Detective Superintendent Oddie. But before long the puzzle that most concerns them is the nature of the close-knit artistic community where Declan O’Hearn had acted as odd-job boy. The little knot of people seem united less by their ability as painters than by a common worship of the distinguished artist Ranulph Byatt, who seems to prefer the adulation of his inferiors to the judgement of his equals. Peace soon starts to wonder if there isn’t a sinister reason for this. And as the search for the killer gathers pace, Peace and Oddie uncover a series of dark secrets in the harsh Haworth landscape.
Robert Barnard (1936-2013) was awarded the Malice Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Nero Wolfe Award, as well as the Agatha and Macavity awards. An eight-time Edgar nominee, he was a member of Britain's distinguished Detection Club, and, in May 2003, he received the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement in mystery writing. His most recent novel, Charitable Body, was published by Scribner in 2012.