A small-town croquet tournament turns into a blood sport with mallets for all.
Blacksmith Meg Langslow (Owl’s Well That Ends Well, 2005, etc.) thought that hosting a weekend of eXtreme croquet would provide a pleasant diversion while workmen—all nephews of a local dairy farmer named Shiffley—demolished the damaged parts of the farmhouse she and fiancé Michael Waterston hope to restore. But after dislodging a cow from a wicket set conveniently in the middle of a bog, Meg stumbles across a chic blonde corpse. So Caerphilly’s Chief of Police Burke, accompanied by his wife and driver Minerva, brings the tourney to a screeching halt by crime-scene-taping the whole playing area. As shift after shift of Shiffleys pound on the roof, Meg’s team captain, Mrs. Fenniman, cousin Rose Noire and their opponents Henrietta Pruitt, Claire Wentworth and Lacie Butler, along with May Briggs—whose developer husband is threatening to build an outlet mall on Shiffley’s adjacent farm—two realtors named Suzie and three Morris dancers, all repair to Meg’s house to consume scandalous amounts of breakfast meats and ponder how Lindsay Tyler, whose career as history professor at Caerphilly College was almost as short as her stint at the Caerphilly Historical Society, managed to get herself brained with a croquet mallet.
As usual, Andrews is a reliable source for those who like their murder with plenty of mayhem.