A Crime NovelThe twisted circumstances surrounding an unspeakable crime, an old man’s fortune, and a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest come to light four decades on in this masterful tale of greed, deception, and murder by CWA Gold Dagger winner Peter Dickinson
Behind his practiced facade of cheerful sophistication, the renowned actor Adrian Waring is a haunted man. The ghost that torments him is from an earlier era, when a world war raged and Adrian was still Andrew, the guest and possible heir of his rich uncle, Arnold Wragge. Wragge had returned from the diamond mines of South Africa with a fortune and a loyal servant named Samuel Mkele, and when his own son vanished, presumably in the smoke of combat, the old man looked to his poor relation as a potential replacement. Andrew’s true interests lay elsewhere, however, in applause and the attentions of eager young ladies, both of which he realized he could have by starring in his cousin’s amateur production of The Tempest. But young Andrew’s fledgling theatrics would prove merely to be the opening act of a horrific human tragedy, forcing him to keep a terrible truth locked inside himself—even four decades after a body was discovered hanging from a perfect dovecote gallows . . .
A master practitioner of the literary art of mystery and murder, author Peter Dickinson stands tall alongside P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, Reginald Hill, and other luminaries of contemporary British crime fiction. A brilliant innovator unafraid to tamper with the rules of genre, he is at the very top of his game with this gripping, twisting, and altogether remarkable psychological thriller.
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“An astonishing novel . . . Stunning artistry . . . Subtle magic.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Engrossing . . . Dickinson is one of the most versatile and inventive writers of mysteries.” —Los Angeles Times
“From the marvelous first chapter of Perfect Gallows . . . we know we are once again in the safe hands of a master.” —P. D. James
“Dickinson’s touch is so masterly here that he makes other fine domestic mysteries seem quite amateurish.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An adroit and suspenseful tale.” —The New York Times Book Review
“The whodunits of British novelist Peter Dickinson are exceptional.” —Newsweek
About the author
Peter Dickinson was born in Africa but raised and educated in England. From 1952 to 1969 he was on the editorial staff of Punch, and since then has earned his living writing fiction of various kinds for children and adults. His books have been published in several languages throughout the world.
The recipient of many awards, Dickinson has been shortlisted nine times for the prestigious Carnegie Medal for children's literature and was the first author to win it twice. The author of twenty-one crime and mystery novels for adults, Dickinson was also the first to win the Gold Dagger Award of the Crime Writers' Association for two books running: Skin Deep (1968) and A Pride of Heroes (1969).
A collection of Dickinson's poetry, The Weir, was published in 2007. His latest book, In the Palace of the Khans, was published in 2012 and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
Dickinson has served as chairman of the Society of Authors and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2009 for services to literature.