Plans for a quiet romantic weekend go badly wrong when Mother Nature strikes.
Lori and Bill Shepherd’s life with their three children in the charming Cotswold village of Finch is lovely but so busy that Bill thinks Lori’s a bit burned out. He suggests she join him on a visit to a client near Rye and then spend some time at The Mermaid Inn, a great historic accommodation with all mod cons and fantastic food. Lori drops Bill off at Blayne Hall and heads for Rye, where Bill will soon join her courtesy of his client’s chauffeur. The typical English rain turns into a fierce storm that forces Lori to take shelter at St. Alfege’s church in Shepney, where she makes the acquaintance of Christopher Wyndham, who, as it turns out, is a bishop and her guide and companion when the flooding forces her to remain in Shepney. Unfortunately, a whole tour bus is also stuck there, leaving only one room available for Lori in a dusty attic at The King’s Ransom. Undaunted, Lori pitches in to help. Soon she’s peeling veggies for Steve, the cook, who, despite his size and tattoos, is a marvelous chef. When Lori hears footsteps, children laughing, and creaking doors during the night, she’s comforted by the blank book in which the spectral Aunt Dimity writes sage advice in times of trouble. After hearing tales of ghosts and smugglers, Lori resolves to figure out who or what is making the mysterious noises. With the help of the bishop and various locals, she tries to determine where the inn’s name came from. Was there really a king involved? She comes up with several theories that are rather more theatrical than either the mysterious sounds or the inn’s name would seem to require. But all is revealed in the end.
Fans of the series (Aunt Dimity and the Widow’s Curse, 2017, etc.) will find this tale less mysterious than previous installments but equally heartwarming and filled with all kinds of interesting people.