The discovery of a pile of infant skulls and a grisly triple murder are just the start of Chief Commander Coffin’s worries in this gripping crime novel from one of the most universally admired English mystery writers. London’s Second City has been the scene of many a terrifying crime, but the discovery of a pile of infant skulls unearthed near police headquarters is particularly horrifying. Another major worry for John Coffin, Chief Commander, is a triple murder on his patch, that of a midwife and her two daughters. The obvious suspect is her son, Black Jack Jackson, a local villain, but both Coffin and DI Phoebe Astley are reluctant to accept his guilt. Two further murders add renewed urgency to both investigations: one of a doctor, discovered in a hospital laboratory surrounded by grisly trophies, might well be connected to the disinterring of the children’s skulls; the other, of a notorious Second City criminal, with the brutal midwife killings. Coffin is able to take all this in his stride, however, until the growing violence comes closer to home – directly threatening the safety of his wife, the actress Stella Pinero.