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by Ann Purser

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7278-5956-0
Publisher: Severn House

Not exactly terror, perhaps, but skullduggery of all sorts greets housecleaner Lois Meade when she opens a cleaning service in the village of Long Farnden.

In gathering workers for New Brooms, Lois (Murder on Monday, 2002) interviews three candidates—brassy Joanne Murphy, a slattern she briskly rejects; Sheila Stratford, who seems ideal; and young Gary Needham, who figures he might as well pass the time waiting to play guitar for a rock band by doing the only thing he’s good at—and adds two more—Bridie Reading, her best friend, and Bridie’s spirited daughter Hazel. Bridie’s abusive husband Dick has always violently objected to his daughter’s tending bar at the Tresham Arms, most recently because he’s caught her sitting with Major John Todd-Nelson in the Major’s car, but that problem at least is at an end. While Lois is waiting to speak to Sheila, she stops in at the churchyard adjoining the upscale hotel across the street and finds that the armored knight surmounting an ancient tomb is actually the Major’s corpse. The grisly discovery is only the first of a series of revelations of drug use, unwanted pregnancy and abortion, pornography, and pedophilia that DI Hunter Cowgill can only pray won’t put Long Farnden and neighboring Waltonby on the tabloids’ radar for keeps.

A modest village mystery most notable for the careful way Purser roots every shocking malfeasance in the rhythms and woes of ordinary working-class family life.