Set in Dundee, another Mendick mystery. When Sergeant Mendick is sent to Dundee to collect a prisoner, he expects a speedy return to London but instead an unfortunate turn of events see him retained to help solve a particularly gruesome murder. Within days Mendick finds himself leading the hunt for the mysterious China Jim who appears to control the criminal classes of Dundee through fear. Mendick's investigations take him from the curling rinks to the foul closes of the disregarded poor, and the bed of the enigmatic Johanna Lednock. More deaths follow and suspicion falls on a handful of men the elite of Dundee society, including Johanna's husband and Mr Gilbride, a local ship owner. Each murder involves apparent cannibalism, shocking even the war-hardened Mendick, who strives to find a connecting link. Dundee seems closed against him apart from the friendly Adam and Mrs Leslie, a prosperous couple who mourn the death of their seaman son. An attempt on Mendick's life convinces him he is nearing the truth, but only when a pawnbroker uncovers a watch stolen from one of the murdered men does Mendick begin to unravel the case.
Malcolm Archibald, born in Edinburgh and with a history degree from Dundee University, has worked as a lecturer and in historical research as well as in a variety of other jobs. He writes mainly historical fiction with the occasional venture into folklore and believes that history should be accessible to everyone. A winner of The Dundee Book Prize 2005, he has published several novels among the most notable are Whales for the Wizard, Powerstone and The Darkest Walk. Malcolm lives in Moray with his wife Cathy.