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.
Expertly edited for modern readers, this second chronicle of the doings of the vicar of Sherburn draws the reader cosily into eighteenth-century village life where medicine is primitive, travel arduous and time-consuming, curses feared and officers of the law less than eager to pursue their functions.
Time: the autumn of 1728.
Place: the usually tranquil Yorkshire village of Sherburn in Elmete.
Except that it finds itself the scene of an increasingly sinister chain of events: theft, robbery on the king’s highway, arson.
And finally murder.
The hapless vicar reluctantly takes on the investigation. In between all his other duties, he skitters about in pursuit of a one-eared footpad, a scarred man and an elusive pedlar, is arrested and tried for theft, thwarts a plot to murder the local miller and confronts a villainous highwayman – all, apparently, to no purpose. Until the penny drops.