The summer of 1976.
The whole country baking in a heatwave. And in a sleepy Derbyshire village a man, known locally as the Ugly Man, walks into his local with a claw hammer and in front of everyone brutally murders the young woman behind the bar.
For Patricia Lancing, juggling the demands of being a wife and mother alongside her desire to get recognition as an investigative journalist, this could be the case that makes her career... If she survives it.
Some time ago, I read and really liked 'The Sad Man' by the same author, and though 'The Ugly Man' is very different, it is an equally excellent read.
This story is a tragedy. It pretty much sums up the consequences of a life spent lonely, unloved and despised by others.
It's a scorching July day in 1976. In Little Longstone, a tiny Derbyshire village, Sally Matthews, a barmaid, is dragged from behind the bar's counter and bludgeoned to death with a hammer in front of her punters. The killer is a very dangerous man, hated and avoided by everyone and known locally as The Ugly Man.
In the meantime, Patty Lancing, a journalist, is fighting for a front page story in an otherwise male-dominated press room. She is sent to Longstone by her boss to cover the murder story. She's very excited and knows that her career depends on this story... but she doesn't know about the horror awaiting her.
Asking around, Patty soon realises that this story has very deep roots which go back in time. She has to dig deep to understand. Who is The Ugly Man? What's his story? Why did he commit this murder? Where is he?
This was another great novella by P.D.Viner that made me reflect and kept me interested to the end. After reading about The Ugly Man's life and the pain he suffered, I found myself feeling really sorry for him. The ending can only be described as 'unforgettable' and 'tragic'. Read it ... it will stay with you.