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The eighteenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford. A young girl disappears, then another. A notorious paedophile is released back into the community. The residents of the Muriel Campden Estate are up in arms, and even prepared to take the law into their own hands... Chief Inspector Wexford is faced with the effects of violence and prejudice every day as a policeman, and he is also involved with a new programme to help victims of domestic violence. His daughter, Sylvia, has come to work nearby in a refuge for battered women. Her marriage is not a happy one, although her husband has never raised a hand to her. They are merely incompatible. Other women in Kingsmarkham are not so lucky... Wexford is soon called upon to investigate two extremely serious crimes which will affect the lives and attitudes of police and innocent villagers alike...