Kenworthy in retirement is consulted by a special team operating from the Cabinet Office. They need his second opinion on the random kidnapping of a motley collection of customers from a village shop in Bedfordshire. The ransom price is so bizarre that it is kept secret from the public and on their return the villagers seem none the worse for their experience. But a rougher time is had by all when an entire Norfolk Parish Council is spirited away. Not until they try their hand at abducting a Yorkshire branch of the Womens Institute do the kidnappers meet their match. In the meantime, Kenworthy has been sorting out the red herrings and finds the answer in the cut-throat power politics of organized crime. The action moves rapidly and murderously from the North Country to the Fens, from rural Wiltshire to the hinterland of the Costa del Sol. From a series of memorable vignettes there emerges a sardonic picture of England in the 1980s and of the devious ways in which decisions are sometimes reached in high places. A small-time London thief who does not like mice; his anarchistic daughter, on the brink of a doctorate in criminology; a corrupt tycoon who tires of Monopoly in an Open Prison; two intelligent young policemen struggling to interpret a tachometer log this is John Buxton Hilton operating in a new vein.
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