Chief Inspector Quantrill was a very sensible policeman. But Shakespeare was not on his beat and he was not sure who Ophelia was. His ignorance embarrassed him when Mary Gedge, the most brilliant young girl in Ashthorpe, was found dead in the river, apparently drowned in shallow water while gathering flowers on May Day morning.
Others were quick to see the resemblance, among them Mrs Bloomfield, head of the school where Mary had been a pupil before gaining admission-one of the first girls to do so-to King's College, Cambridge. Ophelia was a beautiful innocent who fell in love with the wrong man and positively invited him to humiliate and destroy her. But was this true of Mary? And if so, which of her several admirers had caused the tragedy?
Quantrill knows the people of Ashthorpe and of Breckham Market-the East Anglian district where he works-almost too well. We, too, get to know the locality as his investigation proceeds and Sheila Radley, taking inspiration from Hamlet, brings her characters vividly to life.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Sheila Radley is the pseudonym of Sheila Robinson, who was born and brought up in rural Northamptonshire, one of the fortunate means-tested generation whose further education was free. She went from her village school via high school to London University, where she read history.
She served for nine years as an education officer in the Women's Royal Air Force, then worked variously as a teacher, a clerk in a shoe factory, a civil servant and in advertising. In the 1960s she opted out of conventional work and joined her partner in running a Norfolk village store and post office, where she began writing fiction in her spare time. Her first books, written as Hester Rowan, were three romantic novels; she then took to crime, and wrote 10 crime novels as Sheila Radley.
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