First UK edition
Little, Brown (US)
|Preceded by||Died in the Wool|
|Followed by||Swing Brother Swing|
Agatha Troy Alleyn is waiting for the return of her husband Roderick Alleyn after a long separation during World War II. (The preceding two books in the series, Colour Scheme and Died in the Wool, concern Alleyn's work during the war.) While waiting, she accepts a commission to paint the celebrated actor Sir Henry Ancred at his home Ancreton Manor. While there, she witnesses the bitter family dynamics between Sir Henry, his children and grandchildren, which are complicated by the presence of his young mistress, Sonia Orrincourt. Soon after the portrait is finished, Sir Henry, who has been in poor health, dies seemingly of natural causes. Troy returns home and is reunited with her husband. Alleyn is soon assigned to investigate the death, and the case is quickly complicated by another murder.
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