Recommended by Goldsboro Books
UK First Edition. 1960. First printing. A fine book in fine dustwrapper. Not price-clipped and a lovely copy of a very rare title.
The wheels of fate begin to turn the moment Dick Dickon, a humble farmer of Wandles Parva, unearths some Roman artifacts on his land. The handful of silver coins, terracotta mask, and black jar he discovers while digging a badgers’ sett sparks the interest of the local vicar, who soon proposes advanced digging for more clues to the existence of a Roman road. Archaeological fever strikes, and soon the spirited boys of Pelican House Academy and the more business-like girls from a neighboring convent school are exploring the ground. When nothing more is unearthed during these official digs, two boys take it upon themselves to have another go. Their exciting find of a human skeleton piques the interest of the village, and ‘local squire’ Dame Beatrice, upon examining the bones, comes to the conclusion that the remains are not ancient Roman but alarmingly British and contemporary.
In town for a visit are Phlox and Marigold Carmichael, an eccentric pair of amateur archaeologists who seem to take equal interest in the skeleton and Dame Beatrice herself. While the elderly psychoanalyst ponders the Carmichaels’ relationship—for they do not appear to be husband and wife—news arrives that traveler Hilary Beads has gone missing. She was last seen alive leaving the vicarage of Wandles Parva where she stayed. Some curious behavior around the town’s druidic Stone of Sacrifice leads to a search of the derelict Manor House nearby—and the discovery of a body in the high tower. Dame Beatrice believes the disappearance of a Thames boatman might also be related, and she starts to do a little digging of her own, uncovering truths that a murderer is working very hard to keep buried.