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The literary world is shaken when a murder takes place at the Peverell Press, an old-established publishing house located in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames.
The victim is Gerard Etienne, the brilliant new managing director whose ruthless ambition has made him many enemies: a discarded mistress, a rejected and humiliated author and rebellious colleagues. Adam Dalgliesh and his team are confronted with a puzzle of extraordinary complexity and a killer who is prepared to strike again.