Football hooliganism, violent demos, civil insurrection -- what would happen if law and order broke down? One group of men knew. They hoped to be the ones to restore control -- in their own way and at their own price. But they were men that Kenworthy knew, too. He last remembered them when corruption at the Yard was being tidied up. Once again John Buxton Hilton uses the high-powered investigating unit operating direct from the Cabinet Office that he introduced in The Asking Price. Called in to help his former colleague Forrester, Kenworthy finds himself disentangling the intrigues of the Duchy of Axholme, a Government department specially established to absorb misfits and failures. Then there is murder: an academic-minded young lady is saddled with the corpse of an elderly civil servant whom everyone believes to have died while making love to her. Has this anything to do with Peter Paul Whippletree, the drop-out extraordinary and crossword-puzzle comiler with whom she falls in love? There is pungent oblique comment here on the way things are sometimes managed in high places but Kenworthy's main concern is a mystery as obscure as any he has ever tackled.
It calls for all the imagination and double-dealing he can muster. The reader has every chance to beat him to the solution -- though probably not many will.