A Simon Kenworthy novel
“There are a thousand paths to the delectable tavern of death, and some run straight and some run crooked.”
As regards the deaths recorded here the path runs crooked, very crooked indeed.
There lingers at Peak Forest in Derbyshire a curious and ancient anachronistic privilege. A chapel was founded there in the seventeenth century ‘outside the jurisdiction of the bishops’ and the priest was called Principal Official and Judge in Spiritualities in the Peculiar Court of Peak Forest. He had the right to solemnise marriage according to a liberal set of rules – a rival, one might say, to Gretna Green.
Julie Wimpole came as a stranger to the nearby village of Peak Low in 1958, and everyone assumed she was there for fifteen days, the qualifying period to allow her to marry her lover. But was she a stranger? Some of the villagers knew more about Julie than they cared to admit – and she about them. What had she known about that other girl also seeking the residential qualifications for a romantic and hasty marriage, who was murdered here in 1940, and how does this relate to the nasty murder of an eloping couple in 1758, and Julie’s own death?
Inspector Kenworthy finds himself investigating three murders spread over two hundred years with methods as bizarre and circuitous as ever.In effect a triple whodunit, Slickensides weaves John Buxton Hilton’s knowledge of Derbyshire and of country history and folklore into the construction of a splendidly ingenious and baffling story.