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Several young girls have been murdered in Spinnergate with distinct and brutal similarities between the cases. Is there a serial killer on the loose?
The career of Butler's policeman, John Coffin, keeper of the peace in London's Second City, has been recorded in twenty-odd volumes as he moved steadily upward in the force. Faced with having to replace two officers who have died recently under mysterious circumstances, Coffin discreetly recruits a policewoman to find out the real story behind their "accidents." From the Publisher That summer when the old Docklands of London sweltered in the great heat... was the summer when John Coffin walked his Second City of London and felt that life was unraveling about him... Something had to be done and it was for him to do it. Two of Coffin's young detectives had died - deaths that were said to be accidental. In Coffin's view, however, two accidents are two too many. Commander John Coffin is not a fanciful man, but somehow the half-dead tree, its top killed by lightning, standing in a sad patch of rough earth, seems to him to epitomize his problems. Why did the two policemen die? How did one dead police officer's wife come to die a grisly death herself at the foot of the coffin tree? Coffin can't believe that it was suicide. Beyond these concerns, Coffin is uneasy about his relationship with the mercurial actress, Stella Pinero, whom he married after a long on-and-off romance. It is when Stella, whose art has taught her to look deep into the human psyche, sets things right between them that Coffin is able to seek the answers he knows are there.
Scotland Yard Chief Superintendent John Coffin is properly skeptical of the evil reputation of the house at No. 22, Church Row. True, the house has seen violent death over the centuries. None of it suspicious. Until now. Malcolm Kincaid, student. Bill Egan, recidivist. Terry Place, villain. Edward, Irene and Nona Pitt, victims. Phyllis Henley, policewoman. Why have they died? Coffin suspects something more than a haunted house. He sees a human, complex web of relationships, interlocking and interacting in a way he can't yet fathom, and in which people get caught up and destroyed--as they play into the game of a very clever killer.
When Commander John Coffin receives a package containing severed body parts, he doggedly pursues the investigation, even as an ominous specter haunts him. When a second victim is shot to death, Coffin suspects friends of his actress wife Stella Pinero. Soon, Coffin is unraveling a crime that hits too close to home. Martin's Press.
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