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Two years after the trial for the murder of her lover, the blaze of publicity surrounding mystery writer Harriet Vane has begun to die away and Harriet decides it's time for a break. But the peace of a North Devon walking tour is rudely shattered when she discovers the body of a man on the beach, his throat slit from ear to ear. The moment the story appears in the papers Harriet's old friend Lord Peter Wimsey is on the scene to lend his powers of detection. Together they discover that the young man was a Russian emigre, earning his living as a dancer at the local hotel. He had become engaged to a wealth widow, whose son was wholly disapproving. And he had recently withdrawn all his savings from the bank and turned them into gold. However, that proves to be only the start of the mystery. There are plenty of motives and several suspects, but why are they so hard to fit in with the timing of the murder? And, most importantly, why has the body disappeared?