Anna Burns, a beautiful barmaid is murdered. The chief suspect is Perry Webster, a York University philosophy professor who is from an upper middle-class background and who recently, unexpectedly became her fiancée.
Innocent, grief-stricken and drinking too much, Perry seeks the real culprit from among a colourful selection of characters who frequent the pub in York where Anna worked.
Incited by the malevolent attentions of a Detective Inspector who believes him guilty and aided by Anna’s diary, Perry’s investigations lead him into a murky world of individual conceit, personal greed and financial corruption where people, including possibly Anna, are revealed to be not what they seemed.
He increasingly attracts the threat of physical violence, at one stage escaping to a ‘castle' in Ireland owned by the rich family of his best friend. There he meets Theresa, the housekeeper, who begins to help him put his life back together.
On returning to Yorkshire after the murder of one of the suspects and homing in on his quarry, the physical threat escalates and his survival is uncertain. The surprising denouement depends as much on his capacity to think logically as it does on his ability to avoid losing his own life in the process
Published: 16 December 2014