An absorbing first novel set at the Redstone, an English dairy farm, where one early morning young Lilah Beardon finds her father Guy drowned in the slurry pit. His teenaged son Roddy and farm partner Sam Carter have the unenviable job of pulling his body from the awful morass. Guy’s second wife Miranda, who first appears less than devastated, doesn’t seem to warm to her grief until she receives a letter from Guy’s first wife Barbara, claiming a share of Guy’s estate for their grown sons Leo and Terry. Meanwhile, there’s a second death in the area when bachelor brothers Isaac and Amos Grimsdale, from whom Guy bought his farmland, are attacked in their home, leaving Isaac dead and sending the gravely wounded Amos to the hospital. The police, headed by Lilah’s old high school friend Denis Cooper, now have reason to question Guy’s apparently accidental drowning, their suspicions fortified by yet another killing and by the behavior of local eccentric Phoebe Winnicombe and her not-quite-all-there daughter Elvira, Amos’s unacknowledged offspring.
The surprising if not entirely credible solution, when it comes, is a weak spot in a deftly written, thoroughly entertaining story that will have discerning readers eagerly hoping for a sequel.