Hexton-upon-Weir was ruled by its women: they set the tone, they made the decisions, they called the tune. When they decided to band together to block the appointment of a new vicar who was not only unacceptably High Church but – of all ugly things – celibate to boot, they managed to create merry hell. As the town was riven by faction and counter-faction, Helen Kitterage tried to remain aloof, but before long she was drawn into the maelstrom, as, during the down’s fête, ill-will and conspiracy degenerated into murder. Helen was convinced that somewhere among the secrets of this murderous Cranford there must be found some key shame that someone had thought it worth killing to keep unknown.
In this tart and witty updating of the traditional English village mystery, ‘the chameleon talent of Mr Barnard’ (Sunday Times) is demonstrated once again through that sharp ear and eye that led the Washington Post to exclaim: ‘One of the funniest men writing mysteries today has to be Robert Barnard.’