'What an unforgettable, really great evocation. Terrible and tragic insight ... An important book.' - Sunday Times
'Not since Dickens has a British fiction writer dealt with murder in a book of such size and seriousness.' - Sunday Express
'Brilliant ... Magnificent! Murder mystery raised to major art!' - Chicago Sun-Times
'[A] powerful metaphysical thriller.... It is fascinating to think about; but it is no less fascinating to read and re-read.' - Nicolas Tredell
Gerard Sorme is a lonely young Londoner at work on his first novel, in which he intends to express his belief in the meaninglessness of life. His life changes suddenly in unexpected ways when he befriends Austin Nunne, a wealthy and charming gay man with violent sexual desires, and meets Austin's circle of friends: Gertrude, his well-meaning but naive Jehovah's Witness aunt, the ugly but kindly Father Carruthers, and a strange and fanatical artist named Oliver Glasp. Meanwhile, someone else is busy exposing life's meaninglessness in a different way: a serial killer is brutally murdering women in Whitechapel in a manner reminiscent of the Jack the Ripper slayings. The police suspect a crazed sex maniac, but Gerard has his own theory of the killer's motives. As the killings continue and the investigation proceeds, Gerard suddenly finds himself haunted by a terrible suspicion: could his new friend Austin Nunne have anything to do with the crimes?
Colin Wilson's classic first novel, Ritual in the Dark (1960), remains a chilling page-turner, a brilliant fusion of murder mystery and existential philosophy. This edition is newly typeset from the first London edition and includes the author's introduction to the 1993 edition and a new foreword by Wilson scholar and bibliographer Colin Stanley.