The latest in the long line of stories featuring Detective Inspector C.D. Sloan and his rarely helpful underling Detective Constable Crosby, of Calleshire’s County CID (Little Knell, 2001, etc.) is kicked off when Milly Smithers, caregiver to aged Daphne Pedlinge of Aumerle Court, calls to report a body her mistress has seen in the middle of the Aumerle maze, a feature of the estate now open to the paying public and constantly, with the help of a strategic pair of binoculars, under the watchful eye of Miss Pedlinge. The body is identified as Margaret Collins, wife of David Collins, a lighting engineer and partner in Double Felix, Ltd., which had contracted to install a sound and light show in the maze. And there’s more trouble on David Collins’s domestic front, since his only child, preschooler James, is in the hospital, having lost an eye to a reportedly inherited disease. Court overseer Jeremy Prosser is a neighbor of the Collinses and of Daphne’s great-nephew and heir, Bevis Pedlinge, and his wife Amanda. Once these puppets are set up, Sloan digs in to knock down the seemingly perfect alibi of one of them, providing a none-too-convincing lesson in modern technology and a long-sought denouement.
Clumsy plotting and fussy writing make this one of prolific veteran Aird’s lesser efforts.