A croquet tournament threatens to disrupt the bucolic Welsh paradise of Anwen-by-Wye.
There’s little, even the impending arrival of his firstborn, that Henry Devereaux Twyst, 18th Duke of Chellingworth, looks forward to as much as leading the Chellingworth Champs into battle against the Anwen Allcomers on the lush croquet lawns of his estate. But this year’s start is a little rugged. A mole has dug an intricate and destructive series of tunnels and molehills throughout the field of play. Worse yet, the Allcomers have recruited a talented new player, Huw Hughes, who left Anwen as a teenager but now has retired from his world travels as a highly regarded motivational speaker to the green Welsh countryside. Tudor Evans, proprietor of the Lamb and Flag and captain of the Allcomers, has two reasons to resent the return of the prodigal. Although a good enough player, Huw is mighty bossy about how the Allcomers should practice. On top of that, he seems ready to make a play for Annie Parker, the girl Tudor would court if he could just summon up the courage. Tudor does find the gumption to ask the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency (The Case of the Curious Cook, 2017, etc.) for help confirming his suspicion that Huw isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. Christine Wilson-Smythe is back home in Ireland, embroiled in an inquiry into a missing lot of potcheen, the Irish answer to moonshine. But computer whiz Carol Hill discovers enough about Huw—including three dead former wives—to raise red flags that Althea Twyst and Mavis MacDonald, the remaining WISE women, can’t brush aside. And when a mysterious illness hits the Champs and the Allcomers alike, putting one player permanently out of commission, the women have it all over the local constabulary in tracking a killer.
Digging up the dirt is in the DNA of moles and WISE women alike. Ace spiffs up the standard village cozy with a set of sleuths worth a second look.