A Word After Dying (Meredith and Markby Mysteries)

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9780380732272: A Word After Dying (Meredith and Markby Mysteries)

Inspector Alan Markby and his long-time friend Meredith Mitchell have taken a cottage in the country for a much needed holiday. But so sooner are they relaxing with a neighbor over a glass of blackberry wine, when Markby is being badgered for an "off the record" opinion about a somewhat suspicious accidental death.

Retired journalist Wynne Carter has been satisfying her professional curiosity by investigating a former villager: Olivia Smeaton, a reserved old lady with a racy past whose life -- and recent fatal fall -- leave a lot of questions unanswered. Determinedly off duty, Markby grumbles that the woman's death was probably caused by a loose slipper sole. Still, Meredith's interest is piqued by suggestive acts of vandalism that have been striking the village, including the malicious poisoning of the victim's much-loved pony. And, when another body is found, even Markby must admit that there is foul play afoot. with the villagers becoming increasingly unfriendly, and the mysterious violence continuing, Meredith and Markby begin to fear that Olivia's death may have been just the first of many, unless the two of them can make sense of the scandalous secrets so carefully hidden by the inhabitants of the seemingly peaceful Cotswold village.

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About the Author:

Like her heroine, Ann Granger has worked in the diplomatic service in various parts of the world. She met her husband, who was also working in the British Embassy, in Prague and together they received postings to places as far apart as Munich and Lusaka. They are now permanently based in Bicester, near Oxford.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Bamford's Chief Inspector Alan Markby and longtime girlfriend Meredith Mitchell (A Touch of Morality, 1997, etc.) are on holiday in the tiny village of Parsloe St. John, staying in the cottage bequeathed to Markby's brother-in-law Paul by his late Aunt Florrie. Meantime, next-door neighbor, retired journalist Wynne Carter, is worried about another recent deaththat of wealthy, elderly recluse Olivia Smeaton, dead of a fall down the staircase of the Rookery, her elegant manor house. Wynne's not convinced the fall was accidental and wants Markby to investigate--unofficially, of course. And so Markby and Meredith soon run into a few of the village's odd characters: Olivia's housecleaner Janine Catto, unmarried mother of two; Ernie Berry, a hard- drinking bully, ladies' man, and odd-job worker; his loutish son Kevin, and junk-shop owner Sadie Warren, rumored to be a witch and the leader of strange doings at the site of ancient standing stones on the towns outskirts. Some troubling acts of vandalism begin to seem trivial after Meredith comes upon the headless corpse of Ernie Berry on the grounds of the Rookery. It takes Markby's meeting with Olivia's detested brother-in-law Lawrence, lots of help from Meredith, and the remainder of their vacation before this two-sided puzzle is solved. The story's meandering mysteries are less compelling than Grangers depiction of an insular mini-society. Lovers of the village traditional will find little suspense but an adequate measure of leisurely entertainment. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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