Recent widow Ellie Quicke (Murder by Suicide, not reviewed, etc.) faces the trials of Job as she tries desperately to do right by her relatives, her friends, and her God.
Ellie wants to use the money left to her by her late husband Frank to buy a few luxuries—a conservatory at the back of her semidetached home in Ealing, a trip around the world for her favorite waitress at the Sunflowers Café, trust funds for charity and for her church. But her pastor, Timid Timothy, wants—no, expects—her to turn over almost the entire inheritance to fund a new church hall. Her grasping daughter Diana is outraged; she sees her mother’s fortune as her chance to dump her boring husband Stewart, who’s been laid off his job in the North, move to London permanently, and get on-demand care for ever-irritable baby Frank in the bargain. Ailing Aunt Drusilla wants her to chuck the house in Ealing altogether and live with her in a massive Victorian that’s actually Ellie’s. But Ellie’s greatest worry is her neighbor Tod, a bright, lively boy, who was her frequent companion until a vicious attack by a pedophile sent him into a depression so deep that no money—only the truth—can bring him out.
Detection is clearly a side issue in this parable of remaining centered in a world fraught with avaricious demands from every corner.