Widower Police Superintendent Robert Bone (The Late Lady, 1993, etc.) and new wife Grizel are weekending at Roke Castle, home of Grizel's longtime friend Jane, wife of saturnine Lord Benet Paisley Roke. Their visit coincides with that of a group touring stately homes under the direction of old hand Nicholas Buchanan. Several in the group already know their devilish hostlittle Donald Spencer, whose dead daughter had been besotted with Roke; Josh Lawson, given to forbidden picture-taking, who may have robbed him; architect Ben Maitland, whose reputation was sullied by Roke; Angela North, the Lord's first wife, back from 20 years in Australia with son Basil, who may be Roke's legitimate heir. Meanwhile, Robert and Grizel have met the Roke householdtouchy, motorcycle-enamored son Guy and his exotically dressed fiancÇe, Keziah; two younger sons; unflappable butler Knebworth; perpetual houseguest Adrian Nash, a gold-haired, arrogant hunk; and shy Marcus Weatherby, custodian of the Castle's librarypornography and all. Lord Roke shows his visitors around the castle, playing nasty pranks as he goes, and within hours he's deaddressed in ancient armor and shot through the neck with an arrow. Uncouth local Inspector Prior takes charge of the case, but it's Bone, of course, who eventually delivers the culprit into his hands. The various entanglements, romantic and otherwise, get sharper attention here than the muddled mystery and its flabby solution. Readable but far from riveting.
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