A low-keyed addition to the series featuring Montana's Sheriff Chick Charleston and wife Geeta (No Second Wind, etc.)—now visiting the English village of Upper Beech-wood in the Cotswolds, where Geeta hopes to trace her forebears and do some antiquing. Staying at their hotel—the Ram's Head—is lecherous businessman Oliver Smith, traveling with his sister Eleanor, her husband Ben Post, and Americans Dru and Walter Witt. When Smith is found stabbed to death in bed, his body discovered by chambermaid Rose Whaley, police Inspector Fred Perkins enlists Chick's help with the investigation. It's Geeta who turns up the fact that Smith's son, out of touch with his father since childhood, is now the heir to his mother's substantial property in town, and it soon appears that Smith was planning to fight for a share of it. The victim's noisy hotel-bar argument withne Peter Taruin on the night of his death is also being carefully examined, especially by Perkins' disagreeable superior, Superintendent Hawley. Meanwhile, the killing of local constable George Doggett complicates matters, but Chick tenaciously hammers away at old ground—and exasperated witnesses—until he gets to the truth. Dull stuff, not much enlivened even by its affair between the likable Perkins and Dru Witt. Sheriff Charleston seems colorless and bland in this setting; so do the dialogue and plotting. A return to the US before the next outing can only help.
Read full book review >