Cheamley, a drab backwater English village, is the setting for this debut novel. The battered body of handyman Quentin Stanley has been found in the local cemetery. Detective Inspector Peter Caywood and sidekick Harry Kirk confront stony faces and no information as they trudge from hovel to hovel seeking background on the almost unknowable Stanley. Well-liked, genial Vicar Morgan; crippled Hazel Weller; well-to-do furniture-manufacturer Desmond Sate; feisty widow Mrs. Clemson; her organist son Colin, and a few others were Stanley's neighbors and sometimes employed him, but the investigation flounders, at tedious length, until a connection going back to WW II is uncovered. A deeply retarded man whose entire life has been lived at St. Agnes Hospital and the chance discovery of a museum treasure by the inspector's store-owner-girlfriend Eliza provide more clues to Stanley's sub rosa life--and an unexpected motive for his death. Nice plotting, but stilted dialogue, dreary atmosphere and overly obvious attempts at making the inspector interesting make this one strictly for not-too-discerning lovers of the village procedural.