In the golden summer of 1914, Lady Sybil Foley plans a dinner party. Her husband, “self-made man” Alfred, has provided her lavish life style and their marriage of convenience is one of affection and respect. Musically talented Greville is a son to be proud of, and rebellious daughter Eunice is sure to enjoy her London Season. The Rector, widower Francis Wentworth, his son and three daughters are Lady Sybil’s most welcome guests. On the night of the party, war in Europe is imminent; the weather breaks in violent storm and an angry scene amongst the young male guests is hastily patched up as they prepare to take part in the greatest conflict of the new century. But the next morning personal tragedy anticipates the enormity of war when the Rector’s daughter Marianne is found drowned.
Five years later former Police Sergeant, Herbert Reardon, returns to the scene. He was dissatisfied with the Coroner’s verdict and is now uncertain of his own future. Badly disfigured, he has learned from warfare how the strong and virtuous can be affected by the burden of an intolerable situation. As he has gained in self-knowledge and knowledge of humanity, so have all the men and women involved in Marianne’s death as he makes enquiries, forced to consider the near unthinkable possibility of foul play.
Multiple viewpoint, flashback and flash forward, exceptionally deftly handled, enhance the pleasures of this intriguing mystery.