By Ruth Rendell

While Margaret Parsons disappears, Inspector Burden attempts to reassure her frantic husband that she is going to be again by means of morning. Privately, notwithstanding, he's sure Margaret has run off with one other guy. yet then the lacking woman's physique is located, strangled and deserted in a close-by wooden. And whilst Mr. Parsons shall we the police into his domestic, a startling discovery leads all people to query simply who Margaret Parsons relatively used to be . . .

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His wife hadn’t any more nightgowns, Parsons said, and her dressing-gown, made of blue woolly material with darker blue braiding, was still hanging on a hook behind the bedroom door. She hadn’t a summer dressing-gown and the only pair of slippers she possessed Wexford found neatly packed heel to toe in a cupboard in the dining-room. It looked as if Parsons had been right about the purse and the key. They were nowhere to be found. In the winter the house was heated solely by two open fires and the water by an immersion heater.

She lived in a flat above the shop and she went upstairs to fetch the lipstick. It was identical to the one found in the wood except that it had no price written on its base. ‘It’s a difficult shade to wear,’ the girl said. ’ Now there were no more shops on this side of the High Street, only a couple of big houses, the Methodist Church - Mrs Parsons’ church - standing back from the road behind a sweep of gravel, a row of cottages, before the fields began. He crossed the street at The Olive and Dove and went into a chemist’s shop between a florist’s and an estate agent’s.

I’ve been racking my brains. ’ ‘What about her friends? ’ ‘Her mother’s dead. We haven’t got any friends here. ’ Burden stirred his tea. Outside it had been close, humid. Here in this thick-walled dark place, he supposed, it must always feel like winter. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I don’t like to say this but somebody’s bound to ask you. It might as well be me. Could she have gone out with some man? ’ ‘Of course you had to ask. ’ He tapped the bookcase. ‘Just routine enquiries, isn’t it? But you’re wrong.

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