Lost in the mists of the Romney Marsh, Angela Marchmont stumbles upon the body of a woman whose face has been disfigured - presumably to prevent recognition. Who is she, and what was she doing out there in the middle of nowhere? The search for answers will take Angela from a grand stately home to London’s most fashionable - and disreputable - nightclub, and into a murky world of illegal drinking, jazz music and lost souls.
FROM THE RIDDLE AT GIPSY’S MILE:
‘I’m sorry for forcing you to dance, and I do hope I haven’t got you into trouble,’ said Angela as they stepped out onto the floor.
‘No fear of that,’ said Alvie in friendlier tones. ‘You said the magic word “publicity”. He’ll be fine. They think a lot of their business, the Changs.’
He steered her around the floor carefully.
‘I suppose we can talk now without being overheard,’ said Angela. ‘You know what I am looking for. A woman is dead and I want to find out who she was. It seems a great shame to let fear of the police get in the way of that.’
‘Well, you know,’ said Alvie cautiously, ‘it may be that the girls here do just a little more than what they were hired for. I think you understand what I mean.’
He looked at her and Angela nodded.
‘But the police don’t like that one bit,’ he went on. ‘If it ever came out, this place could be closed down for good.’
‘The policeman who is investigating this murder is not interested in closing the club down,’ said Angela. ‘And besides, all we need is a name. Whether or not she was doing anything illegal and whether it was sanctioned by the club is irrelevant.’
‘I guess so,’ said Alvie. ‘How did she die?’ he asked suddenly.
‘She was poisoned with arsenic, then after she died someone smashed her face in so it was completely unrecognizable and disposed of her body in a ditch.’ She said it quite deliberately, hoping to get a reaction.
Alvie bit his lip.
‘Is there a girl missing from here, Alvie?’ asked Angela gently.
He looked down at the floor for a moment, as though debating with himself.
‘Lita,’ he said finally. ‘Her name was Lita.’