Awards: Winner of CWA Gold Dagger Award 2002, UK
When elderly Ailsa Lockyer-Fox is found dead in her garden, dressed only in nightclothes and with blood stains on the ground near her body, the finger of suspicion points at her wealthy, landowning husband, Colonel James Lockyer-Fox. A Coroners inquest gives a verdict of natural causes but the gossip surrounding James refuses to go away. Why? Because hes guilty? Or because resentful women in the isolated Dorset village where he lives rule the roost? Shenstead is a place of too few people and too many secrets. Why have James and Ailsa cut their children out of their wills? What happened in the past to create such animosity within the family? And why is James so desperate to find the illegitimate child - his only grandchild - who was put up for adoption when she was born? Friendless and alone, his reclusive behaviour begins to alarm his London-based solicitor, Mark Ankerton, whose concern deepens when he discovers that James has become the victim of a relentless campaign which accuses him of far worse than the death of his wife. Allegations which he refuses to challenge... Why? Because theyre a motive for murder...?
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