In this thoroughly absorbing, smoothly written tale, the 13th Mitchell and Markby book (Beneath These Stones; Say It with Poison, etc.), Granger shows how well she has mastered her craft of bringing the traditional village detective story up to date. Here she skillfully links the investigations of two arsenic poisonings in the same family in the same Victorian Gothic house 110 years apart. In 1889, William Oakley was tried for killing his wife, Cora, and was acquitted. In 1999, Jan Oakley arrives from Poland claiming to be William's great-grandson. He bears a will that entitles him to inherit part of the estate now occupied by William's two octogenarian granddaughters. Jan's boorish behavior so alienates everyone that, when he dies of poison, everyone has a motive. Superintendent Markby, the local chief detective, knows all the principals and begins the investigation, but his superior wisely calls in two clever Scotland Yard detectives to assure the appearance of objectivity. Markby's lover, a British foreign service veteran, Meredith Mitchell, lends additional support and human interest. The author expertly manages her large cast of characters, deftly using flashbacks to link past and present. This engrossing novel is sure to delight established Granger fans as well as to send new readers in search of her earlier works. Agent, Carole Blake. (Oct. 29)
FYI:Granger is also the author of the Fran Varady crime novels.