Dry humour is raised to a fine art by Inspector Pel, the heir to Simenon's Maigret. A murder has been committed in a quiet corner of provincial France, and it is as puzzling a case as any that Inspector Pel has handled. Madame Chenandier's body has been severely battered, as if by a lunatic. There are some obvious suspects, yet the clothes of none of them show any signs of blood. And what were the tensions that must have torn at this family? Moody, irascible, sharp-tongued, worrying constantly about his health, Inspector Evariste Clovis Desire Pel knows there is something about the case he ought to understand but it constantly eludes him, until another murder and a small boy suddenly change everything. 'Pel and his procedurals are some of the best things since Maigret.' - Observer 'Impeccable French ambience, unexaggerated flics, and a well-constructed solution. Hebden proves again that few understand Gallic cops better.' - The Times 'Written with downbeat humour and some delightful dialogue.' - Financial Times 'The best Gallic sleuth since Maigret.' - London Mystery Selection AUTHOR: Mark Hebden was one of the pen names of novelist John Harris, who died in 1991. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was a sailor, an airman, a journalist, a travel courier and a history teacher. He also wrote popular war fiction as Max Hennessy.