Although billed as the second Inspector Wexford book, Wexford is really a bit player in this one. The story in the main belongs to the Reverend Henry Archery, who seeks out Wexford looking to re-open a case that was closed 16 years before.
Wexfords first solo murder case was apparently open and shut, when Bert Painter was hung for the murder of his elderly employer - Mrs Primero. A woman who was killed with an axe. Archery's interest in the case stems from the fact that his son is now engaged to Painters daughter, Tess - now 20, but the daughter wants to walk away because she doesn't feel she's good enough because of her background. Her mother insists that Tess's father isn't a murderer, but won't go into any further detail.
So the Rev turns private detective and become drawn into the lives of those effected by this terrible crime. Like the girl who discovered the body, only 5 at the time, haunted by the things she saw that night and tries to drown them out through drink or drugs.
This was another very quick read, very clever storywise (again considering when this was first published, some stigma might have been attached to it). Slightly dated, yes, especially in it's attitude to class.
But very interesting when it started to consider the effect of the parent on their children. How Tess, considering the fate of her father, was an intelligent woman, with a university education, compared to Lizzie, who had found the body.
I could have done without the condescending attitude of Archery's son. But otherwise this was a good read.