First published 1972; cover shown is the 1973 Victor Gollancz (UK) hardcover edition. 156p.
So many crime novels of the 1940s through to the early 1970s (from the UK and America) feature a similar plot to Jean Potts' The Trouble-Maker.
A young, beautiful woman - lusted after or loved by numerous men, and hated or pitied by numerous women - is found murdered early in the novel (why are so many found at the base of a cliff?). Suspects abound, the police are generally assisted by an amateur sleuth, and the killer is eventually revealed to be the one most suspected at the beginning but less so by the end.
Potts may have used a clichéd plot, but she makes up for it somewhat with first-class characters. A particularly unlikeable one - a young boy named Emerson - irritates the reader almost from the start, and on page 116 it's a relief when he finally gets what's coming to him.
Set in and around a seaside inn in Maine, the story develops at a brisk pace. The main character, Leonard Quentin, arrives at Seaview Inn in a battered Volkswagen. This and his academic background made me think Potts was basing the character on Ted Bundy, but some quick research revealed that it would have had to have been the other way round: Bundy officially first killed in 1974.
Admired by Edmund Crispin, Julian Symons and H.R.F. Keating, Jean Potts (1910 - 1999) wrote 14 mystery novels and dozens of short stories.