November 1928. Family and friends have gathered at the Shropshire country home of Penrose Llewellyn to celebrate the retired wealthy businessman's 60th birthday. But the morning after what should have been a convivial supper party, their host is found dead in his bed - and the circumstances look decidedly suspicious.
February, 1927: The remains of a man are found in the grounds of Maxtead Court, home of the wealthy Scroope family. Meanwhile, Margaret Rees-Talbot is preparing for her wedding to the Rev Symon Scroope - to the disapproval of some residents of Folbury, who think it's too soon after the death of her father, Osbert, found drowned in his bath a few months previously. Before he died, Osbert had been writing an account of his experiences as a soldier during the Second Boer War. But what really happened in South Africa back in 1902?
It is 1919 and Great Britain is still struggling to its feet after the First World War. Progress is slow, even in quiet spots like the village of Broughton Underhill. But moving on is impossible when former police sergeant Herbert Reardon returns to the village, determined to finally find out what happened the night that his daughter was found drowned. However, as Reardon begins to investigate, it becomes clear that secrets still abound.
London, May 1911. The new king, George V, is preparing for his coronation. The suffragettes are campaigning for women to get the vote. The East End seethes with unrest. And 18-year-old Kitty Challoner is looking forward to 'coming out' in London society. But Kitty's secure, sheltered world is about to be torn apart. Lydia Challoner is shot dead while out riding in Hyde Park, and during the ensuing murder investigation Kitty discovers that there was so much she didn't know about her mother.
1922. Lady Emily Fitzallan has returned to the country house where she spent her childhood for a family wedding. Leysmorton Manor brings back many memories, especially of her elder sister Clare, who vanished one day after going for a walk, never to return. But the disturbing discovery of a soldier's skeleton at the base of an ancient Yew tree brings the past shockingly into the present. Could the man's untimely death have its roots in Clare's disappearance, which occurred almost half a century ago…?
When Laura Harcourt accepts a temporary position in the north of England she does not dream that it will change her life forever. Wainthorpe is a small town set amongst a dense concentration of woollen mills, where the thriving Cross Ings mill is one of the most prosperous. Its respected owner is Ainsley Beaumont, whose family wealth derives from centuries in the woollen trade. However, when Laura arrives she finds that behind the façade is a family still torn apart by the memory of a disastrous fire.
It is 1910 and the bloodstained body of an unknown woman is found in the grounds of Sir Henry Chetwynd’s Shropshire estate. The murder has an unexpected impact on the lives of Sir Henry, his wife and their two children, Sylvia and Sebastian – reluctant heir to the estate since the tragic death of his older brother. But the Chetwynds are not the only ones living under a shadow.
"first half cumbersome"
What could make a successful, happily married man shoot himself? What could make a young artist on the brink of fame throw himself from a window to his death? These are the questions that are faced by Chief Inspector Lamb and his sergeant, Cogan. Neither victim left a note behind, and it appears that nothing untoward had occurred in the weeks preceding their deaths. But something must have led them to take such drastic action, and Lamb intends to find out what it was.