A clergyman should be above reproach, an example to his flock. But what is Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Quantrill to make of the Reverend Robin Ainger, Rector of St Botolph’s in the quiet Suffolk town of Breckham Market, when the good-looking, popular parson lies to the police?
With the thawing of prolonged winter snow, the skeleton of a recently dead man has been found in a meadow belonging to the Rectory. Whose is the body, and how did it come there? Both Ainger and his wife Gillian are taut with suppressed hysteria at the discovery.
As Quantrill – in the face of carefully framed denials from the Rectory, but with hints that Mrs Ainger’s elderly father knows more than he’s telling – struggles to piece together clues centering on the presence of two Australians, an uncouth backpacker and a clever girl with beautiful flame-red hair, he begins to guess at the depth of suffering hidden beneath the conventional routine of Rectory life.
Sheila Radley has a novelist’s eye for character and motive, as well as a crime writer’s talent for deception and mystery. The result is a tense, beautifully crafted and satisfying story with an entirely unexpected dénouement – a worthy successor to her previous book, The Chief Inspector’s Daughter