This is the first book about the adventures of the Superintendent Trewley and Detective Sergeant Stone.

The book starts by familiarizing the reader with the inhabitants of a small English village Redingote; the feuds and friends and competitions between people. It’s the day of the annual summer fete and the village’s new reverend and her wife are also coming to live there. The day is very warm and the tempers of the locals are running very high partly because they compete fiercely among themselves who wins the largest amounts of money during the holiday. This year the bank manager’s Scandinavian wife is the chair of the Ladies League and she has decided that everyone should build their own stalls which raises people’s tempers some more. 

Then she is found murder in the center of the local manor’s maze. The detectives are called in and they have to wade in to the local mysteries, secrets, and lies. The local witch and her apparently feebleminded and incestuous son add even more suspicions and local color.

The mystery is quite cleverly written and entertaining. However, I found the people to be quite, well, small-minded and very, very cliquey with their own circles of friends and enemies. Entertaining for a while but I certainly wouldn’t want to live there! I was also quite annoyed by some stereotypes. The main pair of detectives, an older man and a young woman, where not very original and they weren’t introduced to the reader practically at all. This could have easily been any book in an ongoing series instead of the first.

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