Murder most foul along a Kentish lane that isn’t even a village.
Wealthy Keith and Jill Aymes have purchased the Manor House on Millers Lane in order to pour money into it; Ian and Migs Peters have taken half a semi-detached down the bridleway because it’s what they can afford; retired legal secretary Evelyn Bateman stays on because it’s a place where she can protect her dotty sister Daphne from crowds and prying eyes; dairy farmers Frank and Mary Dodd are still here because they can’t bear to leave. Together with a successful mystery writer, the local vicar and his mate, a wheelchair-bound WWII flier and his caretaker/wife, and the domestics who share the Peters’ semi-detached, they make up a quiet community, one now hotly divided over Keith Aymes’s proposal to widen the road past the Manor House. The strong feelings expressed pro and con would be surprising enough, but evidently somebody’s casting votes outside the meetings over which boring Rev. Hollywell presides. Soon it isn’t only the local flora and fauna that are threatened by Aymes’s plan; the torching of the Dodds’ hay barn with their teenaged son inside is only the first act in a murderous counterplot.
Lorrimer (The Faithful Heart, not reviewed, etc.) provides oodles of domestic detail but no suspense, psychological interest, or even sharp distinctions among her large, expendable cast. With so much deadwood on hand, you can see how the killer got tempted.