In England in 1921, the country was still recovering from WWI. War wounded were seen throughout the country. What couldn't be seen were those who were psychologically wounded and in need of help. With this background, at the start of the novel, a family is murdered in Surrey. Police at first believe that it is a violent robbery but when Inspector John Madden is called in from Scotland Yard, he views the scene and thinks it's something else. Madden has spent time in the trenches in the war and believes that this is the work of a psychopath who will continue killing until he is stopped. John Madden is a well developed protagonist. He's knowledgeable and determined to find the killer. His personal history is brought in nicely so that the reader gets to know him and sympathise with him. The respect with which he is held by his assistant, Billy Styles, gives credibility to Madden's knowledge of people and crime. The setting is the English countryside with gardens and country manors surrounded by woods. The descriptions are vivid and help the reader see a clearer picture of what live may have been like. The theme is relevant with the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The author is telling his readers how little post tramatic syndrome is known and what psychological impact it causes. A most enjoyable read.