Fans of Arnold Landon (A Trout in the Milk), mild-mannered Northumberland bureaucrat, will relish this polite, nicely old-fashioned mystery. Amateur medievalist Landon is asked to help a military historian at Newcastle University in tracing a 12th century master builder. A ruined castle, which may hold crucial clues, lies on the estate of Yates, a much-disliked landlord whose tenants want to stop him from ""improving'' the estate at their expense. The first two-thirds of the book reveal, to us and to Landon, just how surrounded by enemies Yates isand deservedly so. A young poacher and would-be tenant, a rude, irascible military historian, a solitary, brooding farmer, a putative heir to the estate, the ``heir's'' strong-willed lady-love, and Yates's housekeeper/mistress all have reason to wish the landlord ill. Landon finds Yates with a medieval crossbow bolt in his chest, and it devolves upon our self-effacing hero to find the villain. Justice is done, but not until Landon must sort through various unruly passions: ``People gave him problems of emotional upset.'' A leisurely, fine-textured treat. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988 Release date: 04/01/1988 Genre: Fiction
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