I hate reading a series out of order - but I desperately needed a quick book published in 1975, so I caved and picked this up. Considering this was only just over 200 pages it seemed to take a long time to read. The story seems very straightforward, which of course means that is isn't.
Robert Hathall returns home, bringing his mother with him for visit. She doesn't approve of his second wife, so this is only the second time she will have met her. But the disapproving mother-in-law discovers Angela Hathalls body - she's been strangled and Wexford has a good idea who's behind her murder.
The grieving husband doesn't really grieve, but then no-one in this family behaves as you would expect. They're all cold and disconnected.
Wexford is sure that somehow the husband is behind his wife's death, but he was working in London when it happened. The house has been wiped clean of prints, except for one which shows an L shaped scar.
Wexford becomes obsessed with proving that Robert Hathall killed his wife, roping in other people to watch him when he moves into London, sure that at some point he'll make a mistake. Over a year passes before the case comes to it's conclusion - after the discovery of a potential fraud the case overlaps with the disappearance of a local woman.
Final twist was rather good, but I did see if coming, after an innocent comment regarding a necklace the missing woman wore.
What I didn't like was trying to decide whether Wexford had cheated on his wife - personally I like to think that he didn't, but I suspect that he did.
This book left a rather sour taste in my mouth. Wexford was forever doubting his-self, the only person that really supported him was his nephew. He was depressed about getting old, but happy that he'd lost weight. It just didn't do much for me.