A quiet Sussex village plays host to the rich and semifamous.
The Rev. Nick Lawrence (The Mills of God, 2010) never imagined he’d be involved in a second murder case. The seeds are sown when the director of the local dramatic society, which has ambitious plans to stage a son et lumière at Fulke Castle, suffers a fatal heart attack. The new owner of Abbot’s Manor may be just the person to save the day. Nick has already met Gerry Harlington, a black American actor and hip-hop fan best known for playing Wasp Man in several B movies. Gerry’s wife, Ekaterina, a stunning Russian of great wealth, is fed up with her husband’s bad temper and contemplating divorce. Gerry is delighted to lead the drama group, although many of its members are less pleased. Nick, who’s attracted to one of the players, agrees to take a nonspeaking role. Despite Gerry’s failed attempt to revamp the show as a musical, all goes well until he inserts a hip-hop dance into an Elizabethan Fair scene. Although his idea is beaten back by the enraged actors, he doesn’t seem to be giving up. On opening night, the audience is wowed by the stunning visual effects and beautifully spoken narrative. The discovery of Gerry’s corpse the next morning brings DI Dominic Tennant and DS Mark Potter to the scene. They find Gerry dressed as one of the performers who enact a fight scene on the top of a tower. The actors usually throw a dummy from the tower, but this time, it was Gerry.
Nick’s second case is a classic English village mystery with flashes of humor, pleasing characters and enough suspects to keep you guessing.