When the unsavory mayor of Tresham is found dead in his fish pond, Chief Inspector Hunter Cowgill calls on the owner of New Brooms for help digging up the dirt.
Lois Meade (Theft on Thursday, 2005, etc.) has just opened a new Tresham office for her cleaning service. Across the street is Rain or Shine, owned by her Long Farnden neighbors Rupert and Daisy Forsyth and run by their son Derek. Although the shop window features rainwear, its main attractions to furtive customers are pornography and sex toys. New Brooms’ clientele includes Doreen Jenkinson and her husband Howard, Tresham’s mayor, who’s reserved a room in his own house for his dalliances with other ladies, cleaning it himself and perhaps furnishing it with marital aids his chauffeur has purchased at Rain or Shine. Cowgill is sure that Lois can learn a lot about the mysterious death by listening to the gossip picked up by her cleaners and snooping in the houses of the mayor’s circle of friends. Sure enough, her faithful workers, her village shop-owning daughter and even her gran come up with tidbits that help solve the case.
Interesting characters don’t quite justify the effort to disentangle the dense web of humdrum information en route to the ho-hum ending.