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Summary

1950s Staffordshire. Within the clay tanks at the pottery company Shentall's, a body has been found. Amid cries of industrial espionage and sabotage of this leader of the pottery industry, there is a case of bitter murder to solve for Inspector Hedley Nicholson. 

Kelly's mystery won the CWA Gold Dagger Award in 1961 for its impeccable sense of place and detail, and for the emotional weight of its central crime. The novel is part of a shift from the cosiness of crime novels before to mysteries characterised by their psychological interest and affecting realism. An influential classic. 

©1961 Estate of Mary Kelly (P)2021 Soundings

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Not what I expected

I tend to listen to all British Library Crime Classics but this one sounded quite dull. I am very glad I gave it a chance however. very much character based with the death etc being a secondary consideration. David Thorpe did a good job as narrator as usual.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Blithe Alden
  • 06-03-21

Great setting, intense psychological mystery

I was caught up in the fascinating business of the pottery factory in about 1960. There are two mysteries, both solved convincingly but with very different emotional weight. The end is wrenching but rings true.

1 person found this helpful

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  • bookish
  • 22-04-21

Good enough, not excellent

The unique setting of this novel is its most commendable feature. The plot gets sidetracked on a banal heterosexual love plot, which drains the vitality—and interest—of the narrative. It’s not a must-read, even for fans of older crime fiction. But the realistic factory setting is rare in the genre and it’s developed well, so the novel is not a categorical waste of time, either.