An ailing novelist who’s done outrageous things to everyone imaginable invites a half dozen frenemies to his Cornwall estate so he can apologize to them. You’d never guess what happens next.
Now that he’s sacked his agent, Denbigh Connaught wants his old friend Charles Elder to run down to Connaught house for the weekend to make arrangements to represent him. Since Connaught hasn’t been a model comrade, Charles isn’t eager to make the trip. Neither is lonely Lady Cecelia Albrighton, one-legged World War II veteran Col. James Haxby, artist Pandora Jade, or Denbigh’s brother, travel writer Monty Connaught, all of whom have been grievously wronged by their prospective host. But they all overcome their reservations and pack their bags for Cornwall. So do thriller writer and part-time private detective Donald Langham—who’s been asked by Connaught’s daughter, physician Annabelle Connaught, to tail Wilson Royce, her father’s new business manager, and report his findings—and his bride, Maria Dupré, Charles’ business partner. None of them realizes any more clearly than Denbigh what will be obvious to any savvy reader: They’ve been invited out to the country not only to accept their host’s apologies, but to serve as suspects when he’s murdered. DI Jeff Mallory, of Scotland Yard, gets the case, but although he allows the assembled suspects to smoke and drink through a series of commendably civilized interrogations, it’s Donald, as usual (Murder Take Three, 2017, etc.), who carries off the sleuthing honors.
Brown’s latest return to a golden-age setting and conventions will delight fans avid for improbably clever murder methods, unbreakable alibis, and red herrings by the shoal. The uninitiated will scratch their heads in as much bewilderment as Scotland Yard.