Sid Love, faithful constable, is perusing items at a local auction when he is hit from behind and no one sees his assailant. While poor Sid is rushed to the hospital, the auction goes on without him and the lot he was interested in sells for an incredible amount. What is it about the last few belongings of a recently deceased resident of the local retirement home that can cause such interest and violence?
Inspector Purbright must delve into the affairs of some of the local gentry, which always makes his Chief a bit anxious. Chief Constable Chubb has a great respect for tradition and treating the landed folk of the area with kid gloves, which makes it more difficult for Purbright and the rest of the force to investigate.
It seems that the plaster scene painted during therapy at the retirement home holds some sort of secret. Why are the folks up at the hall hiding the fact of a break-in? How did a stranger who was at the auction wind up dead in the lock? And how could a retiree, the local gentry, and a petty thief have anything in common? Purbright will have to delve back into Flaxborough history to find the roots of this mystery and the identity of the mysterious thief.
As usual, the characters of Flaxborough all play various parts in solving the mystery. Sergeant Malley's knowledge of the local residents and village history is very helpful. Miss Teatime shows up briefly at the auction. And loyal retainer Benton, up at the hall, provides a few tidbits, too.
These mysteries are carefully constructed so that everything dovetails neatly in the end, but readers must be patient with the slower speed of investigations set in a time before internet, CCTV, and other modern conveniences. Recommended for lovers of cozy mysteries in historical settings. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.