When an out-worlder's body was found in the river, Thissel knew where the criminal was - behind one of the masks worn by the remaining out-worlders on Sirene. But how could he tell which one, on a world where everybody lived behind masks, where men never spoke but sang to instruments, and where any act of intervention with another man's business was punishable by death!
Jack Vance (1916-2013)
John Holbrook Vance was born in 1916 and studied mining, engineering and journalism at the University of California. During the Second World War he served in the merchant navy and was torpedoed twice. He started contributing stories to the pulp magazines in the mid 1940s and published his first book, The Dying Earth, in 1950. Among his many books are The Dragon Masters, for which he won his first Hugo Award, Big Planet, The Anome, and the Lyonesse sequence. He has won the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards, amongst others, and in 1997 was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America.