This is the fourth in a series of light-hearted detective stories in which the vicar of Sherburn is caught up in seedy circumstances not of his own making and obliged, given the inertia of the local police forces, to conduct murder investigations himself. However, the dead man doesn't stay dead for long because weeks later, he is seen alive.
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, to catalogue her extensive collection of stamps. He is found not guilty but Lady Amelia’s son, Toby, vows to prove the verdict wrong.
On the morning following the feast of St Giles, 1 September 1966, the Bishop of Worcester, the Right Reverend Giles Wyndham-Brookes is found slumped and lifeless in his study at Hartlebury Castle, his official residence. He had seemingly tripped on an edge of carpet and hit his head on the fender; but there is a distinct whiff of murder in the air.
When the police fail to make an arrest in a murder-case after a year’s investigation, three individuals try independently to solve the murder for purposes of their own. They make progress but not enough. They all agree that the dead man’s will might be important – but how? DI Moat of the North Yorks force is called in to find out.
Murder comes in all shapes and sizes. It also comes at inconvenient times. Christmas, for example. This anthology has all the classic motives: blackmail, revenge, lust, greed, anger… And there’s more! Humour, intrigue, suspense…
From the top of the stairs, a little girl of five overhears an argument between her father and a late-night visitor. Frightened she dared not descend the staircase. Her father is killed. She did not see the killer but remembers the killer’s voice. Twenty years later she recognises the voice, identifies its owner and sets out to take her revenge.
Death by aloe-seed is a light-hearted detective novel, set in an eighteenth-century Yorkshire village and featuring the hapless vicar saddled with a mind-boggling murder inquiry dumped on him by the less than capable officers of the law.
Lionel Jagger, head of English at Mincliffe College in rural Worcestershire, is found dead in bed one morning, with his throat cut. Twenty-eight years old, erudite, talented, popular: an unlikely victim of murder. Inspector Wickfield and his assistant Sergeant Spooner trawl through his life, leaving no stone unturned to catch the cunning killer.
A respected teacher at a private girls’ school in rural Worcestershire, physically attracted to one of the Sixth-Form leavers discloses his feelings for her. Convinced that he has mishandled their final meeting, he writes her a letter of regret and then kills himself. The coroner’s verdict is suicide but Inspector Wickfield is called investigate.