CHAPTER ONEIt was a dark, dank, filthy night. One of thosenights when nothing stirred, nothing but therelentless fall of fine drizzly rain from a low bank of cloud which hung oppressively overhead.Nina Lovell stood just inside a pair of wrought-iron gates, staring across the shadowed lawns at awhite rendered mansion house. There was somekind of party going on up there. The driveway waspacked with cars, and there was light spilling fromalmost every ground floor window. The mutedsound of music drifted towards her on the dampdrizzly air.She shivered, huddling deeper into her thinsummer coat, cold hands clenched inside her coatpockets. Somewhere inside that house, the manshe had come here to see was enjoying himself,while several miles away, in a house not dissimilarto this one, lay the victim of his latest coup, dyingfrom the horror of it all.