Theft, arson and a pile of bones add complexity to a challenging case for Detective Chief Inspector CD Sloan.
A not-exactly-priceless painting of Sir Francis Filligree has been stolen from a museum along with a few Anglo-Saxon artifacts. DCI Sloan and his often clueless sidekick DC Crosby are still at the museum when a harried call directs them to a case of arson at Tolmie Park, an estate formerly owned by the Filligree family. Just before Tolmie Park’s billiard room roof collapses, Sloan sees a pile of bones. The bones, which lie on a layer of lobster shells, part of the Filligree coat of arms, prove to be bovine. But the reaction of Lionel Perry, chairman and managing director of Berebury Homes, Ltd. and current owner of Tolmie Park, gives Sloan cause for reflection. Berebury Homes is seeking planning permission to refurbish Tolmie Park into apartments and build additional homes on the extensive grounds. The plan, anathema to the local preservation society, also makes Berebury Homes a possible takeover target. Sloan must dig into the complex world of planning and restoration to discover who would benefit if Tolmie Park burnt to the ground; whether any Filligree family members are still in the picture; and why Perry has turned down a profitable cash offer for Tolmie Park.
A middling entry in Aird’s long string of mysteries featuring the wit and wisdom of Sloan (Amendment of Life, 2003, etc.).