Detective Inspector Madoc Rhys of the Canadian Mounties (A Pint of Murder, 1980, etc.), wife Janet, and infant daughter Dorothy are visiting Madoc's family in Wales to celebrate the 90th birthday of grandfather Sir Caradoc Rhys. A clutch of friends and relatives are in and out of the manor house, eating a succession of meals and drinking endless cups of tea. Among them is neighbor Lisa Ellis, a widow whose gem-dealer husband was murdered in Marseilles eight years before. Distant cousin Mary Rhys, a gem-cutter of unexpected affluence, and her occult-obsessed brother Bob are also guests, as is Madoc's opera-star brother Daffyd, for years in love with Lisa. It takes 150 pages of relatives, local rites, and cooing over Dorothy before Mary, long tagged the murder victim, comes to her ritualistic end. Unwinding the background to her murder, a scenario full of bizarre coincidence, is no more enthralling than what's gone before. Cloying, unconvincing, and strictly for faithful fans.
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