Unhealed scars of the Great War still torment Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge. A haunted, damaged shell of a man, he has been sent to the small coastal town of Hampton Regis to solve a violent crime and to confront his own tragic past. An officer who served with Rutledge in the trenches of France before being sent back to England under suspicious circumstances has now been accused of savagely beating the husband of the woman he still loves. The suspect has taken the wife hostage, threatening to kill her and her maid unless Rutledge takes charge of the investigation. Although the case painfully mirrors Rutledge's own past and the love he lost to another man, he cannot refuse it. When the unconscious brutalized victim vanishes without a trace, it's clear that this peaceful little town hides a vicious murderer and secrets powerful enough to kill for.
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