In the rough, tough world where predatory young beauty queens compete fiercely for money, a murder is committed. Police Constable Peter Lassington is soon enmeshed in a complicated mystery - a mystery made more than usually exotic by the acreage of young feminine flesh that is continuously on show at the Star Bowl ballroom, rehearsing for the contest at which the St. Valentine prizes will be awarded. Lassington's superior, the officer in charge of the case, is Superintendent Ironside. Ironside - polite, sophisticated, devious - is somewhat sceptical about the charms of the young ladies: his thoughts roam forward to his imminent retirement. This detective novel is carefully plotted and firmly set in a world of bizarre values - values that do not appeal to Ironside, the most striking police detective to appear in fiction for some time. The naked competition of the adolescent beauty queens provides the background to a strange and exciting murder novel, with a surprise ending.
H. R. F. Keating was born at St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, in 1926. He went to Merchant Taylors, leaving early to work in the engineering department of the BBC. After a period of service in the army, which he describes as 'totally undistinguished', he went to Trinity College, Dublin, where he became a scholar in modern languages. He was also the crime books reviewer for The Times for fifteen years. His first novel about Inspector Ghote, The Perfect Murder, won the Gold Dagger of the Crime Writers Association and an Edgar Allen Poe Special Award.