NO ONE can deny James’s success as a crime novelist. This is the eleventh in his series based around Brighton-based Homicide DI – now Superintendent – Roy Grace.

The Grace stories almost always go to the top of the bestseller lists, not least because they are supremely well told. James writes meticulously researched police procedurals, so informed that you can smell the canteen coffee and the squeak of the linoleum in the Major Incident Room.

No stone is ever unturned with the hero often coping with personal tragedies alongside a major crime – his first wife Sandy disappeared and has never been found.

This time, Grace fears he may be hunting a serial killer who has been abducting, torturing and killing young women with long, brown hair for more than 30 years – and getting away with it.

How? And who is he? It’s a puzzle that takes indomitable Grace 400 enthralling pages to unravel as he guides his reader to the ugly conclusion: psychopaths often look like eminently respectable people.