Kirkus Star


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A cozy tour-de-force presided over by retired Chief Detective Superintendent Henry Bassett, a widower now raising pigs in the Malverns, and featuring a cowman, an egg-man, a retired estate-worker, a poacher, a dairy woman, a lord of the manor, a dog-raiser, and the body of a newcomer, Derek Winslow, found resting on a tombstone in Rev. Brewerton's churchyard. Bassett's hunt for Derek's killer begins with the telling of the Bronsil Castle Legend by the regulars at the Pheasant, and eventually leads into another murder, this one taking place at the beginning of WW II and involving a local lad who was thought to be a deserter--though his unfaithful wife knew better and had a lushly verdant garden to prove it. Meanwhile, there are alibis to be checked; livestock to be tended; and cottage ownership to ascertain. The vicar takes a near-fatal look-see into the icehouse, and as the gingery Bassett is discovering love stories with unhappy endings, he must also deal with his own sadness since the death of his much-beloved wife. Carrying on in circumspect English country manner, however, Bassett chats, masons, and methodically waylays Derek's murderer into confessing, then humbly decides to leave the young soldier's death alone. A charming, best-of-Britain debut--with an intricate lacing of crimes present and past, tantalizing clues, and jolly fine company at the pub.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Doubleday