The murder of an unpopular history buff discloses dark secrets.
Norbridge Abbey Chorus singer Tom Firth stumbles over a body on an after-hours visit to the music department at Norbridge College. His yells attract the attention of frumpy Alex Gibson, who’s working late. The murderee is Morris Little, a much-disliked local shopkeeper whose curiosity knew no bounds. The police quickly arrest some stoned local troublemakers who obligingly confess. But when several people realize that a psalter Morris had in his hands has vanished, they come together as a loose group of budding sleuths. TV producer Suzy Spencer and her boyfriend Robert Clark, who’ve had some experience investigating murders (The Flower Arranger at All Saints, 2006), team up with Alex, who’s slowly overcoming a breakdown brought on by her divorce, and Edwin Armstrong, deputy head of the music department. A series of strange near-fatal accidents; the machinations of a local builder; and the sudden change of Edwin’s niece Chloe from typical teen to nun-like drone all offer clues to the amateur detectives. They must not only piece together the clues to the mystery but also work to resolve their romantic relationships before a cleverly disguised murderer adds them to his list.
Well-realized characters can’t make up for the overblown plot.