By the time Jim Gilruth returns to Pakistan – 20 years after he served as a law officer in a small village near Lahore – colonial rule has given way to Pakistani officialdom. Jim’s strange and enigmatic mission is painfully involved in the brutal clash of the old and the new – but why he has been chosen as the instrument of coercion remains a mystery. Then the details of a half-forgotten murder that Jim adjudicated long ago begin to come back in all their bewildering nuances, and in an eerie repetition of the circumstances of a generation ago he finds himself powerless to save the life of a good man – or to bring a murderer to justice.
Praised by critics for his clean prose style, characterisation, and the strong sense of place in his novels, Philip Maitland Hubbard was born in Reading, Berkshire and brought up in the Channel Islands. He was educated at Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for English verse in 1933. From 1934 until its disbandment in 1947 he served with the Indian Civil service, then for the British Council, before retiring to work as a freelance writer. He contributed to a number of publications, including Punch, and wrote 16 novels for adults and two children’s books. He lived in Dorset and Scotland, and many of his novels draw on his interest in and knowledge of rural pursuits and folk religion.