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by Michael Kenyon

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-13582-3
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

 The author's spirit of unbridled irreverence and gift for conveying regional accents get full play here as Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Henry Peckover (Peckover Joins the Choir, 1994, etc.) finds himself in Inverballoch, a remote corner of Scotland. He's a guest at the annual celebration of the Robbie Burns Club for which his wife, Miriam, a chef, is preparing the dinnerhaggis and all: a festive occasion, if sometimes incomprehensible to Henry, though marred by the discovery next morning of guest of honor Sir Gilbert Potter, stabbed to death with the dirk used to carve up the haggis. No one is more upset than Posy Cork, an archaeologist working a dig nearby on land owned by impoverished Sir Dougal Duncan. Sir Gilbert had promised funding for Posy's search for Roman ruinswork started 50 years ago by Wilfred Cuff-Bingley, who disappeared at about that time, never to be seen again. Posy's boyfriend and fellow guest at the banquet, Mike Trelawny, hopes she'll now decide to marry him and be an academic's wife at Princeton. To this mix add Sergeant Menzies, Inverballoch's entire police force; his 90-ish antique-dealing mother, with a secret of her own; Glasgow's CID Superintendent Bob Geddes; some oddball characters from the media; a neighborhood group of present-day Druids in slovenly encampment; and Peckover's assistant from LondonConstable Jason Twittyblack, Harrow-educated, given to thrift-shop finery, and smart as a whip. In Kenyon's antic prose, it's a smile a page (only occasionally evoking visions of stand-up comics), but old wrongs do get righted, and justice is served. A winner.