When Lady Amelia Walden is murdered at Monk Fryston Hall Hotel in Yorkshire
on the night of her eightieth birthday, the chief suspect is Robert
Purbright, a bachelor in his fifties engaged at Farlington Hall, the
ancestral Walden mansion, to catalogue her extensive collection of stamps.
At his trial, the prosecution allege that he was creaming off choice
specimens for himself and that his employer was beginning to have her
suspicions. Exposure would have brought his career to an unpleasant end. The
jury, however, find him Not Guilty. Enraged by their obtuseness, Lady
Amelia’s son, Toby, vows to prove them wrong.
The detective inspector who had been in charge of the investigation, Walter
Moat, admits to Toby Walden, in a strictly off-the-record conversation, that
the police had made a poor case; but he also lays some of the blame on
counsel for the prosecution for not fully exploiting the evidence. Despite
his best amateur efforts, Walden does no better - until a second murder
offers more promising openings. A book by Freud and an Iroquois legend
conspire to raise Walden’s hopes of finally getting Purbright convicted. But
will raised hopes be enough?
All the hall-marks of Falconer are here: velvet-smooth English, well-shaped
narrative, erudite allusions, and a rich surplus of thought-provoking obiter
dicta: in short, intelligent entertainment at its finest, for the
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