Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year: Peter Dickinson targets England’s upper classes in this murderous and strikingly original theme-park mystery
Tourists are waiting in line for entry into the world of Old England, a graceful, elegant country house run as a theme park, complete with wrought-iron gates, pet lions, and maids in white caps greeting visitors with a bob and a curtsy.
But this fantasy world turns very real when one of the servants takes his own life. Why did the loyal and faithful Arthur Deakin hang himself in the pantry without leaving even a note? Dispatched to find out, Scotland Yard superintendent James Pibble wonders why the local police weren’t called in on a seemingly run-of-the-mill suicide. But as Pibble will soon find, life at the Herryngs estate of twin brothers Ralph and Richard Clavering is anything but ordinary. Sir Ralph, a retired general, and Sir Richard, a former admiral who now writes about animals being driven out of their native habitats, are war heroes who have gone from charmingly eccentric to dangerously certifiable. Sir Ralph’s only daughter is desperate to shield the family from scandal. A disappearance, a man-eating lion, and an old dueling ground add up to foul play as Pibble uncovers a viper’s nest of evil behind an upper-crust facade that could claim his life next.