Maurice Seton was a distinguished mystery writer living in the tiny town of Suffolk, England. He may have come to prominence through his books, but no murder that he had ever devised for one of his stories could possibly have been as grisly as his own. When his gruesomely mutilated corpse is found in the bottom of a dinghy, drifting just within sight of the lakeshore, ripples of shock and horror spread among the tightly-knit circle of Maurice's bizarre friends.
Scotland Yard Inspector Adam Dalgliesh was supposed to be on vacation, visiting his eccentric Aunt Jane. To be perfectly honest, he is actually looking for some time off; some time away from crime and death. However, it would seem that crime and death never got the message, and Inspector Dalgliesh soon finds himself investigating the murder of Maurice Seton. His primary list of suspects seems to come from the close-knit circle of Maurice's self-described friends; certainly an unusually odd bunch of people, if truth be told.
There is a cynical and cruel drama critic, a voluptuous burlesque showgirl, a dissolute young heir, and a young woman who is absolutely terrified that she may become the killer's next victim. Inspector Dalgliesh and his extraordinary aunt Jane are following a tantalizing trail of sin and scandal. And they must make sure that they are on the right track to discovering a dead man's secrets, because if the sleuths are wrong, this perilous plot is bound to take another twisted and murderous turn...
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The mystery itself wasn't too taxing and I found it easy to follow. I also appreciated that there weren't that many characters in the story; I usually find myself getting confused if there are too many characters to remember.
Anyway, I know that I have several other books by P. D. James on my bookshelf, but I haven't found them yet; they are so well hidden. I will say that this was the first book by Ms. James that I've actually read, although I have started to read one or two in the past. For whatever reason, I was unable to really get into either book and had to set them aside for a while. Although I would happily give this book an A+! Guess I'll be looking out those other two P. D. James books next!