Weird doings, though not enough of them, around an ancient Cornish burial ground.
Depressed over the failure of his second marriage, retired West Midlands Chief Inspector John Latymer (Worm in the Bud, 2004, etc.) is happy to take advantage of London consultant Jack Maynard’s offer of a holiday cottage in St. Mellick. But nearby Bodmin Moor is desolate, and the cottage is a dump. Lanwithen Museum curator Matthew Turner is even more eager to quit the neighborhood—so eager that he connives with mystery man Brian Smith, who shows him two priceless relics fashioned 700 years apart that he claims to have found in the same barrow of Keeper’s Tump. Together, they plot to keep the discovery secret until they can entice an unwitting TV news crew to document a staged second discovery. Naturally, Turner’s amateurish conspiracy ends in the murder of somebody who may or may not be Smith and puts Latymer, poking his nose into the case, on a collision course with huffy Inspector Anderson. Feeling the killer’s breath on his neck, Turner confesses all to Latymer, who advises him to do the same to Anderson. Next morning, Turner marches into Anderson’s office and recants his confession, then disappears, leaving Latymer to follow a humdrum daisy chain of interviews to an obvious murderer.
A couple of nice twists can’t save Latymer’s third case from tedium—or from some unbelievable behavior on the part of conspirators, police and ex-police alike.