Murder interrupts Beatrix Potter’s latest visit to her beloved Hill Top Farm in England’s Lake District.
It’s 1906. When the noted children’s author goes to neighboring Holly How Farm to see her new Herdwicks, she discovers the body of the shepherd, Ben Hornsby. Though it first appears he fell over a cliff, the doctor discovers he was hit in the back with an undetermined weapon. Beneath the village of Sawrey’s placid surface lurks unpleasantness. Lady Longford’s candidate for the head teacher’s position is opposed by the villagers, who prefer to promote the current lower-school teacher; the sly companion Miss Martine is cruel to Caroline, daughter of her Ladyship’s castoff son; and one of the local badger setts has been raided and its occupants taken for an illegal badger-baiting. Beatrix is embroiled in these affairs through her meeting with Isaac Chance, who’s suspected of burning down Hornsby’s barn, and her visit to Caroline, to whom she offers a guinea pig as a short-term companion. She foils several nefarious schemes with the help of Justice of the Peace Miles Woodcock, solicitor William Heelis, and a large group of local animals tame and wild.
Albert (Dead Man’s Bones, p. 259, etc.) provides enchantment for fans of Beatrix Potter and Sneaky Pie Brown, and anyone else who likes mysteries that are easy to solve.