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Clifford Witting

Crime in Whispers

Hodder & Stoughton 1964
Artist - Barbara Walton

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OVER eight hundred feet above sea-level, encircled by the pine woods of eastern Downshire, is the small town of Gray-stoke, some forty miles from London and on the main road to Southmouth-by-the-Sea. Three-quarters of a century ago it was little more than a hamlet— a few cottages, a smithy and an inn, the Saracen's Head, grouped at the junction of the main road with two lanes, one winding northward to Underchurch village, the other southward to the little town Kingshott, on the London and South-Western Railway line. Today there is small trace of old Graystoke. The cottages have been swept away and replaced by modern shops, offices, branch banks, a cinema and a supermarket. There are traffic-lights where the High Street is intersected by North Street and South Street. The Saracen's Head, on the north-west corner, has been extended and modernized and is the half-way stopping- point for the motor coaches running hourly between London and South-mouth.

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