A cozy glimpse of growing old, and the alternative.
Former schoolmarm Dorothy Martin, whose creaky knees are within hailing distance of 70, and her second husband, retired Chief Constable Alan Nesbit, have settled into a comfortable routine in the village of Sherebury, enjoying their morning coffee, afternoon tea, and nightly bourbon. But old habits die hard, and when local museum curator Bill Fanshawe, aging beau of their neighbor Jane, goes missing, the sleuths (Sins Out of School, 2002, etc.) forego their easy chairs and afternoon naps to find him. Alas, poor Bill has keeled over in the old Roman tunnel beneath the museum, a coded letter in his hand. Dorothy and Alan can’t make sense of it. Neither can Bill’s young assistant Walter, soon bound for the hospital with a bashed head. Could all this mayhem have to do with Bill’s missing appointment book and atlas, or the exhibit he was mounting on Sherebury’s role in WWII? After chatting up the few remaining members of Bill’s air squadron, Dorothy and Jane have just about settled on Wing Commander Merrefield as a past traitor and current villain when he too dies. Many inquiries and cups of tea later, Sherebury’s war record is set straight and Jane can find solace in mothering Walter while Dorothy finishes her Christmas shopping and Alan puts the kettle on.
A so-so puzzle that threatens to drown readers in tea but excels as a primer on aging.