Lydon Hall is a house full of character, as the estate agent's literature claims. But its many interesting features should surely not include a corpse in the elegant drawing-room? Is this death the suicide it appears to be? The investigation centres upon a tight-knit village community. Both the glamorous French widow of the deceased and the man who lives rough on the moor after a mental breakdown seem to know more about this death than is at first apparent.
When there is a violent murder at a historic Home Counties golf club, Superintendent John Lambert himself discovers the crime. For the first time in a long career, he finds himself conducting a murder inquiry among people he knows well. The victim is the chairman of the golf club and a prominent local businessman, and it is soon clear that the members of the Club Committee are the chief suspects. They are all prominent members of the local community, and Lambert is saddled with a Chief Constable who is uncomfortably aware of the fact.
As the Masonic Lodge Ladies' Night comes to a close and the guests drift away, a man is found in the car park, garroted at his steering wheel. Murder is no laughing matter, of course, but why look a gift horse in the mouth? DI Percy Peach has always taken a special pleasure in taunting his superior, Superintendent Tucker, about the indiscretions of his fellow Masons - now he's been given a free hand to dig up any amount of dirt about the secret order.
A successful British television producer who fancies himself a Hollywood mogul, Sam Jackson makes enemies easily and delights in the fact. It is no great surprise that such a man should meet a violent death. Detective Chief Superintendent Lambert and Detective Sergeant Hook deduce that the person who killed him is almost certainly to be found among the company of actors who are shooting a series of detective mysteries in rural Herefordshire.
When Darren Chivers, a small-time drug dealer, narrowly escapes a drug arrest, he begins to develop a different sort of criminal activity. Blackmail proves lucartive, but ultimately dangerous. When Chivers is murdered, Chief Superintendent Lambert, DS Hook and the rest of the team uncover a variety of suspects in the murky world where Chivers operated.
Richard Cullis is Director of Research and Development at the Gloucester Chemicals Company. Late one night, he is dramatically kidnapped and warned to suspend all animal experiments in the laboratories if he values his life. Some weeks later a company golf tournament has a startling conclusion when Richard collapses after dinner. Murder is suspected, but who administered the poison?
"A Good Day Spoiled!"
Amid the luxurious surroundings of the Wye Castle Hotel and Country Club, a man is found dead on the course. Superintendent Lambert and Sergeant Hook establish fairly quickly how he died, but discovering who killed him proves a more difficult challenge. The golf course and hotel are set in spectacular scenery beside one of England's most beautiful rivers, with Hereford's ancient Cathedral visible in the distance. In May this incomparable valley is at its best, but it is a bizarre context for the investigation of a brutal murder.
Independent old man Walter Fletcher is found dead within two days of moving out of the home that he has lived in for forty years. His death is at first presumed to be accidental. Superintendent Lambert and Sergeant Hook find to their embarrassment that his granddaughter’s suspicions of foul play are only too well founded.
Cajoled into auditioning for a local play by the formidable Mrs Dalrymple, Bert Hook finds that amateur dramatics are not quite as he imagined. He meets a rather surprising cast of characters: moody Michael Carey, a talented actor with a big future ahead of him; shoplifter Becky Clegg, who claims she has put her disreputable past behind her; and Jack Dawes, with a history of violent crime.
"Great Interesting Mystery!"
Superintendent John Lambert finds that a round of golf is the perfect diversion, especially when he’s beating – and offering patronising tips to – his sergeant, Bert Hook. Hook isn’t having much fun, but when he tops a ball horribly, he comes across something far, far more horrible lying in a ditch. The dead young woman, it turns out, was not only a drug dealer, but she was also on the game.
Ex Ireland rugby player and now successful businessman Jim O'Connor is shot dead in the car park of a restaurant where he is hosting a family celebration. DCI Percy Peach is brought back from holiday to head up an investigation that has gone nowhere. It seems Jim O'Connor had some rather unpleasant business contacts, many with the motive to get rid of him. However, when law-abiding Dominic O’Connor is also killed, within days of his brother, Brunton CID can only assume there must be a link between the two murders.
Twin Lakes is a complex of holiday homes in a scenic part of England. “Rest Assured”, says the sign at its entrance. And the people fortunate enough to occupy the luxury homes are indeed able to relax in a beautiful setting. Then a series of mysterious threatening notes are delivered to one of the lakeside homes. DS Bert Hook conducts an informal investigation and the notes cease to appear. All is peaceful once more until a brutal death shatters the peace.
When Liz Upson reports that her husband, Matthew, has gone missing, he’s not exactly top priority for Detective Sergeant Bert Hook - he’s just one of thousands of missing persons reported each year. Anyway, Mrs Upson makes it clear that her husband may be missing, but he’s not missed. But when his body turns up with a bullet in the head in the Malvern Hills, Hook and his superintendent, John Lambert, have a formidable and complex case on their hands.
Gurney Close isn’t the sort of place where anything untoward should happen. It’s just a small, newly-built cul-de-sac with three nice houses and a bungalow overlooking the river Wye. The people who move in – three married couples and a divorcee – don’t expect much excitement beyond some neighbourhood friendliness. With this in mind, they organise a party to celebrate moving in. Everything goes well and a good time is had by all – until one of them is found dead the next morning.
Martin Beaumont is the uncompromising owner of a successful vineyard that lies in the peaceful Gloucestershire countryside. He has built the company steadily over the years, with a small but dedicated team by his side. However, he is forceful with his views on the business, much to the resentment of his more senior members of staff. So when he is found dead in his car, DS Hook and the rest of the team don’t have to look very far to find their suspects.
"Plods along...but gets there"
Skeletons have a habit of revealing themselves eventually.... When a human skeleton is discovered on the boundary of a 20-year-old property development, it seems there are a large number of people who may know the identity of the corpse and how it got there. But 20 years is a long time, and those individuals were very different people back then. Skeletons are being revealed in all senses, and there are many prominent local figures who are beginning to feel uncomfortable and afraid.
Dennis Cooper is one of the few full-time resident National Trust curators in England and lives with his wife in the grounds of the spectacular Westbourne Gardens, which receives thousands of visitors each year. On the face of things, Dennis lives a perfect life and has a dream job, but this idyllic setting is riven with dark secrets, and it isn't long before foul play draws Lambert and Hook into this troubled Eden.
Seven-year-old Lucy Gibson can barely contain her excitement when she learns that the funfair has come to town and Matt, her mother's new boyfriend, has agreed to take her. Despite her slight uneasiness in Matt's company, she readily goes off with him one evening. The next morning, Chief Superintendent Lambert briefs DS Bert Hook and DS Ruth David on the disappearance of a young seven-year-old local girl from a funfair the previous evening.
"this book is all ful to thank of that someone conl"
When the committee members of the Oldford Literary Festival all receive anonymous letters telling them to resign or die, it marks the start of an unusual case for Chief Superintendent Lambert and DS Hook. All of the members identify one man as being capable of such a thing: Peter Preston, a self-important cultural snob who is in disagreement with the head of the festival, Marjorie Dooks, over what he sees as the dumbing down of the events programme. But could a disagreement over a literary festival actually lead to murder?
Adam Cassidy is one of Brunton’s most famous residents. For the past few years he has played the lead role in a TV detective show that has been a worldwide success. He now believes it is his time for a crack at Hollywood, and, as plans are made for the fifth series, he doesn’t care who he has to betray in order to fulfill his dream. Meanwhile, DCI Percy Peach, now happily married to Lucy Blake, is at a loose end and is in danger of being drawn into the ongoing, and unpopular, local anti-terrorism initiative.