Edmund Crispin was the pseudonym of (Robert) Bruce Montgomery (1921-1978). His first crime novel and musical composition were both accepted for publication while he was still an undergraduate at Oxford. After a brief spell of teaching, he became a full-time writer and composer (particularly of film music. He wrote the music for six of the Carry On films. But he was also well known for his concert and church music). He also edited science fiction anthologies, and became a regular crime fiction reviewer for The Sunday Times. His friends included Philip Larkin, Kingsley Amis and Agatha Christie.
In the sleepy English village of Sanford Angelorum, Professor Gervase Fen is taking a break from his books to run for Parliament. At first glance, the village he's come to canvass seems perfectly peaceful, but Fen soon discovers that appearances can be deceptive; someone in the village has discovered a dark secret and is using it for blackmail. Anyone who comes close to uncovering the blackmailer's identity is swiftly dispatched.