Detective Chief Inspector Roper (A Fox in the Night) investigates a 40-year-old murder in this meaty mystery set in the bucolic English village of Newby Magna--where Cassandra Murcheson, late of London, has just moved into a cottage with a gruesome past. On Murcheson's first night there, persons unknown leave a slaughtered cockerel on her porch step. Some sort of prank? Perhaps, but previous occupants of the house had also been plagued by this type of nonsense--some reporting the ghostly figure of a man in WW II battle dress in the back garden--and the last tenant had expired in a questionable suicide. When Murcheson finds the body of a woman bricked up in an alcove, Inspector Roper's sense of justice has him bucking the ``no further action'' report of his superiors and interviewing aging residents in a slightly necrophiliac re-creation of the village socio-sexual scene of the 1940s. Hart's characterizations are vivid and the narrative is compelling, but, procedurally speaking, the police take an inordinately long time to follow up on some obvious possibilities. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989 Release date: 01/01/1989 Genre:
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