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His face badly burned in a motor accident, young Robert Struve is horribly disfigured.
Unable to afford corrective surgery, and denied lawful redress against the rich man whose daughter was responsible, Struve wears his scars as a badge of honor, excelling at school and sports. The social pressure is intense however, and he is treated harshly by his peers-young men and women alike. When his frustration boils over, he assaults a girl.
In a correctional institution, as a ward of the state, he undergoes reconstructive surgery.
Years go by. Then one of the girls involved in the incident is murdered, her face mutilated. A second and third are killed in similar fashion; is Robert Struve involved? No one has seen him, since his incarceration…
Written in the late 1940s, The Flesh Mask was Jack Vance’s first success as a mystery writer, launching his Edgar-winning career. The story was first published in 1957, as Take My Face, under the pseudonym “Peter Held”.