A gripping novella from the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Banks Mysteries and a “master of the art” (Boston Globe)
Retired Cambridge professor Donald Aitcheson loves scouring antiquarian bookshops for secondhand treasures—as much as he loathes the scribbled marginalia from their previous owners. But when he comes upon an inscription in a volume of Robert Browning’s poetry, he’s less irritated than disturbed. This wasn’t a gift to an unwitting woman. It was a threat—insidious, suggestively sick, and terribly intriguing.
Now Aitcheson’s imagination is running wild. Was it a sordid teacher-pupil affair that ended in betrayal? A scorned lover’s first salvo in a campaign of terror? The taunt of an obsessive psychopath? Then again, it could be nothing more than a tasteless joke between friends.
As his curiosity gets the better of him, Aitcheson can’t resist playing detective. But when his investigation leads to a remote girls’ boarding school in the Lincolnshire flatlands, and into the confidence of its headmistress, he soon discovers the consequences of reading between the lines.