The Herring Seller's Apprentice (Elsie & Ethelred 2) L.C. Tyler
His latest novel is going nowhere, a mid-life crisis is looming and he's burdened by the literary agent he probably deserves: Elsie Thirkettle, a diminutive but determined individual who claims to enjoy neither the company of writers nor literature of any sort. But however bad things look, they can always get worse, as Ethelred discovers when his ex-wife, Geraldine, vanishes close to his Sussex home.
When the disappearance becomes a murder enquiry, the police quickly decide that Geraldine Tressider has been the victim of a local serial killer.