Just been re-published. This was Peter May's third book ever back in 1981. The author has reworked it slightly for re-release but, in a lengthy preface, says that he was surprised how little re-working he had to do. He also comments on how relevant the story line is to today. The main bit that gave him concern was over his depiction of autism back in the 80s.
All based in the heart of the EU. A contract killer is hired to kill a UK politician based in Brussels. It turns into a double murder as the politician is being blackmailed by a journalist from the Edinburgh paper the Daily Standard is and he is killed at the same time. Co-incidentally, another reporter has been sent there by the editor to join his colleague to get him out of the way and to cover the EEC news. The doomed journalist's daughter witnesses the murder so the contract killer is ordered to killl the girl.
The "Man with no Face" is the contract killer, drawn by the gifted but autistic girl. however she is disturbed before she can finish her sketch leaving a detailed drawing of everything but his face.
I wasn't sure about the style at first. I've come to really enjoy Peter May and the standard of this didn't seem quite up to the Modern May. But as it got going I think it turned out just as good.
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The “idiot savant” annoys those who are on the spectrum or those who work with them. It’s that people extrapolate that all are rainmen because they read that one was.