A young woman is menaced in a graveyard but her stalker is slain by an assassin, who runs away. Next morning a human face is found in an art gallery exhibiting the works of Sebastian Marlowe, the body being later fished from a river. Numerous tattoos on body and face identify the dead man as Nikolay Baldaev, a member of the Russian Mafia and, on the house-to-house enquiry butcher Anjit Marsud and his daughter Sabina deny knowing him but appear to be lying. Chandler establishes that Sebastian Marlowe does not exist, the work being created by his supposed assistant Abigail Perkins, a young woman with a disfiguring birth-mark on her face. Then mechanic Harry Barnett is also killed and flayed, the same sequence of letters found in his house as in the gallery and a third victim, another tattooed man, is also taken. At the same time the police station is beset by power cuts, floods and mildew and Wingfield's notes which were sent to Chandler after his suicide reveal that he was ...
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