Dry humour is raised to a fine art by Inspector Pel, the heir to Simenon's Maigret. Irritable, dyspeptic Inspector Evariste Clovis Desire Pel did not need another murder case added to his already Herculean workload, especially not this ghoulish business of a mutilated, headless corpse; anonymous victim of a desperate and determined killer. Yet, if the murder was so deliberate, why was the identity of the dead man obscured? Pel's investigation moves from Burgundy to the frontier and back again, stirring echoes of the horror and trauma of the war and meeting a blank wall of non-cooperation so far as the murder is concerned. The trail is muddied by mistaken identities and ancient grievances, driving the chain-smoking Inspector close to distraction. Until, amid the cloud of acrid Gauloise smoke, Pel sees a ray of enlightenment and closes in with his inimitable savoir faire. '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.