An irrepressible freelance engineer’s stint as a custodial grandmother comes to an abrupt end with the discovery of a corpse.
Self-styled Lady P has been left in charge of her infant grandson Toots (né Edward Hyde) while her daughter and son-in-law are off sailing. But her regime of changing and feeding her charge from time to time while plowing most of her energy into a scheme to improve the efficiency of petrol engines ends with the premature return of Jackie and John. After an uneventful day of sailing, they’ve found a body in Queen Aholibah’s aftercabin and returned to help Inspector Raymond Plummer with his inquiries. Oddly enough, there seems to be little urgency about those inquiries. Molly Gallagher, a secretary/typist in the County Architect’s office, vanished eight months ago, but no one’s pushed hard for an investigation into her disappearance. Even more puzzling, the pathologist testifies that she’s been dead a much shorter time. What might Molly have learned about the recent ouster of acting County Architect Alan Bunt that could have gotten her sent off on a one-way voyage? Where has she been all this time? And will Lady P, who fancies herself quite the sleuth, find time to wipe the grease off her hands and get down to the case?
Veteran Hammond (The Hitch, 2004, etc.) provides an appealingly free-spirited detective but gives her precious little to detect in this low-stakes adventure.