When a rain-drenched Dutch traveller hitches a lift to a rural French monastery, the monks take care of him. But when the young man dies, detectives Mallery and Hobbs launch an investigation and the monastery’s seventy inmates quickly fall under suspicion. The mystery deepens when the Dutchman’s grandmother arrives, as the old woman introduces another piece of the puzzle for the detecting duo to explore. After another man dies, the search is on for a missing item from the Dutchman’s backpack. Could it hold a clue to the identity of the murderer and the possibility of buried treasure?
This is the second book in the Mallery and Hobbs series and the fourth I’ve read by this talented author. As with ‘Isobel’, its setting in the quaint town of Saint Margaux gives the tale an added layer of interest, with its English/French characters and the (slight) clash of cultures. The story is well told, taking us through the daily lives of the monks as the police try to work out what the heck’s going on. There’s a nice ordinariness to the sequence of events that (naturally) belies a sinister undercurrent, and the inclusion of the officers’ private lives (especially Mallery’s secret assignations with a certain lady), combine to allow the unravelling of the mystery with an exquisite slowness. Along with plenty of reddish herrings to put us on the wrong track, there’s a lot to like about this book.
Another cracking good yarn from Ms Griffiths-Jones.