About this edition: This is one of five titles released simultaneously in a Christmas boxed set. These are the only five titles appearing in the green cloth binding.
About the author: Not much is known about Edward Woodward. The frontispiece of this book lists three of his other novels: The Pigeon Wins, The Gamblers, and Black Sheep. Note that both Goodreads and Google confuse him with the English actor by the same name (born 1930, obviously not this author) and attribute various other works (incorrectly) to him.
- Dr. Cuthbery Merrivale, the local doctor
- Hester Merrivale, his sister
- George Fenchurch, the man with the limp - an artist intent on painting scenes at Cleeson Manor
- Jacob Martuke, local inn owner
- Deborah Martuke, his wife, who becomes housekeeper at Cleeson Manor
- Rupert Dykeminster, owner of Cleeson Manor
- John Pedmore, Dykeminster's servant, a hunchback
- Alicia Dykeminster, sole heir of Rupert
- Veronica Starling, Alicia's roommate
- Charles Nicholson, attorney for the Dykeminsters
- Carlos Tenodo, Spanish newspaper man, friend of Rupert
- Andrew Fleeson, houseman at Cleeson Manor
- Sir Ronald Deepwood, a neighbor
- Police Constable Haynes
- Detective-Inspector Lattimer
- Detective-Superintendent Minchin of Scotland Yard
Locale: Cleeson, Yorkshire; on the moors of England
Synopsis: Dr. Merrivale picks up wandering George Fenchurch one night on the moors, and treats him for an ankle injury. Fenchurch is an artist who has come to paint scenes of old Cleeson Manor. However, it turns out the owner, Rupert Dykeminster, has gated off public access to the Manor grounds and set vicious dogs loose inside the gates. Fenchuch is determined to access the grounds. About the same time, Rupert is found dead from a poisonous blow dart, and the dogs found dead also. Fenchurch is the obvious suspect but willingly provides evidence it was not he.
Alicia Dykeminster is the sole heir to the estate (along with a list of strange conditions), and moves in to Cleeson Manor with her friend Veronica Starling despite various warnings. The manor holds a secret that many people want.