Detective Inspector Purbright of the Flaxborough police force is used to a life of quietude in a small market town, yet he knows that behind the outward respectability of typical English communities a darker underbelly of greed, crime and corruption lurks.
Chalmsbury, a neighbouring town to Flaxborough, has been experiencing a series of explosions that have destroyed many of the town's monuments. Explosives have even gone missing from the Flaxborough civil defence centre and Purbright is seconded to the baffled Chalmsbury police force to help them discover the culprit.
When one of the locals is killed Purbright is forced to delve into the community of eccentric residents in a desperate hunt for the killer and finds that, like Flaxborough, Chalmsbury is every bit as rich in genteel assassination.
First published in 1960 Bump in the Night is Colin Watson's second book in the Flaxborough series.
'He has all the virtues one looks for in a crime novel: a gift for writing dialogue, a sense of character, a style which moves from easy flippancy to positive grace.' Julian Symons