The cathedral town of Litchester is more used to carols by candlelight during the festive period than flames and intrigue, but the proposed sale of its 1225 copy of the Magna Carta in order to raise funds turns out to have far-reaching consequences.
Merchant banker Mark Treasure has been invited down to arbitrate the vicious disagreement between members of the cathedral chapter regarding the sale and finds himself dealing with more than he bargained for when the Dean's verger is discovered murdered, his body left to burn, along with the ecclesiastical library.
As his investigation progresses and the evidence points to mayhem and skulduggery, he discovers that Litchester is a town full of sins and secrets rather than peace on earth.
David Williams was a writer best known for his crime-novel series featuring the banker Mark Treasure and police inspector DI Parry. After serving as Naval Officer in the Second World War, Williams completed a History degree at St Johns College, Oxford before embarking on a career in advertising. He became a full-time fiction writer in 1978. Williams wrote twenty-three novels, seventeen of which were part of the Mark Treasure series of whodunnits which began with Unholy Writ (1976). His experience in both the Anglican Church and the advertising world informed and inspired his work throughout his career. Two of Williams' books were shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award, and in 1988 he was elected to the Detection Club.