It was a brutal, vicious crime -- sixteen years old. A helpless old woman battered to death with an axe. Harry Painter hung for it, and Chief Inspector Wexford is certain they executed the right man. But Reverend Archery has doubts . . . because his son wants to marry the murderer's beautiful, brilliant daughter. He begins unravelling the past, only to discover that murder breeds murder -- and often conceals even deeper secrets . . .