Book 14 in the Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond series, one of Sohos bestselling and most critically acclaimed series, this time including a Chauceresque twist. At a Bath auction house, a large slab of carved stone is up for sale. At the height of what turns into very competitive bidding, there is a hold-up attempt by three masked robbers.
They shoot and kill the highest bidder, a professor who has recognized the female figure carved in the stone as Chaucers Wife of Bath. The masked would-be thieves flee, leaving the stone behind. Peter Diamond and his team are assigned to investigate, and the stone is moved into Diamonds office so he can research its origins.
The carving causes such difficulties that he starts to think it has jinxed him. Meanwhile, as Diamonds leads take him to Chaucers house in Somerset, his intrepid colleague Ingeborg goes undercover to try to track down the source of the handgun used in the murder.