When ex-vicar Lionel Lawrence opens his rambling rectory to rehabilitate a stream of young offenders he has no idea of the consequences, least of all that they will include blackmail and murder. The mysterious disappearance of wild Carlotta, his most recent project, seems to involve both.
Chief Inspector Barnaby, on the other hand, has a shrewd idea of the identity of the violent individual behind Carlotta’s disappearance: one of Lionel’s lame ducks who, with a prison record for terrible violence, is not the pathetic soul he would have others believe. But Barnaby hasn’t a shred of evidence to support his hunch – until a wrong-headed romantic theory from a local villager offers the lever he is looking for to prise open the truth.
“A deft and engrossing murder mystery.” – TLS
“A pleasure to read: well-written, intelligent, and enlivened with flashes of dry humour.” – Evening Standard