Death at the Deanery - sudden and unnatural death. Someone should have seen it coming. For even before Stuart Latimer arrives as the new Dean of Malbury Cathedral, shock waves reverberate through the tightly-knit and insular Cathedral Close, heralding sweeping changes in a community that is not open to change. And the reality is even worse than the expectation - the Dean's naked ambition and ruthless behaviour alienate everyone in the Chapter: the Canons, gentle John Kingsley, vague Rupert Greenwood, pompous Philip Thetford, and especially Subdean Arthur Brydges-ffrench, a traditionalist who resists change most strongly of all. Others in the Close have reason to fear the Dean as well: Jeremy Bartlett, the Cathedral Architect, who is playing a dangerous game of double-dealing; Evelyn Marsden, the spinster whose home is at stake; Rowena Hunt, head of the Friends of the Cathedral, whose own ambitions drive her into an unholy alliance with the Dean; and even Police Inspector Michael Drewitt, who spends more of his off-duty time in the Close than a married man should.
Financial jiggery-pokery, clandestine meetings, malicious gossip, and several people who see more than they ought to: a potent mix. But who could foresee that the mistrust and even hatred within the Cathedral Close would spill over into violence and death? Canon Kingsley's daughter Lucy draws in her lover David Middleton-Brown, against his better judgement, and together they probe the surprising secrets of a self-contained world where nothing is what it seems.
"Her pointed satirical style produces amusing characters and wonderfully awkward moments in the life of a community so stultifyingly inbred that a festival of flower arranging counts as blood sport."
(The New York Times Book Review)
'No fireworks. No histrionics. Just a tantalising unfolding, like a good story told over companionable tea-cups."
(Eastern Daily Press, Norwich)
"Fascinating behind the scenes cathedral politics." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Here is a superior example of the modern mystery novel in which atmosphere, characterisation and setting cast an unbroken spell." (The Irish Independent)
"A disarming comedy of clerical manners ... What you'd expect if Trollope decided that what the Barsetshire novels needed to juice them up was a tincture of illicit (albeit well-bred) passion and homicide."
"An absorbing, complex book worth reading." (CADS)