A Disturbing Influence was Julian Mitchell's second novel, first published in 1962. The setting is the small, utterly English town of Cartersfield, where the very quietness of life causes trouble. The young and old are preoccupied alike with their own affairs, to the exclusion of the world. Tetchy schoolmaster Mr Drysdale sums it up: 'We don't care much for change in Cartersfield.' But change comes regardless, in the shape of a rootless young man who finds Cartersfield a fine place in which to recuperate after an illness, and a fine place, too, to indulge his appetite for destruction. In a fascinating new preface to this reissue Julian Mitchell describes how he drew on his Cotswold childhood and the town of Cirencester in order to invent his fictional Cartersfield and populate it with a cast of characters.