A gripping novella from the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Banks Mysteries and a "master of the art" (Boston Globe)Retired Cambridge professor Donald Aitcheson loves scouring antiquarian bookshops for secondhand treasures-as much as he loathes the scribbled marginalia from their previous owners. But when he comes upon an inscription in a volume of Robert Browning's poetry, he's less irritated than disturbed. This wasn't a gift to an unwitting woman. It was a threat-insidious, suggestively sick, and terribly intriguing.Now Aitcheson's imagination is running wild. Was it a sordid teacher-pupil affair that ended in betrayal? A scorned lover's first salvo in a campaign of terror? The taunt of an obsessive psychopath? Then again, it could be nothing more than a tasteless joke between friends.As his curiosity gets the better of him, Aitcheson can't resist playing detective. But when his investigation leads to a remote girls' boarding school in the Lincolnshire flatlands, and into the confidence of its headmistress, he soon discovers the consequences of reading between the lines.