A Grave in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope

By Rebecca Tope

Undertaker Drew Slocombe isn't having an outstanding day. His enterprise is failing, the automobile wishes an MOT (safety inspection) and he’s riding a hundred and twenty miles to the Cotswolds to hold out the past due Greta Simmonds’ ultimate needs. regrettably, while he will get there, a string of bureaucratic errors implies that he’s now the manager suspect of a homicide inquiry. He’s starting to want he had by no means heard of Greta Simmonds. Thea Osborne and her unswerving spaniel Hepzie are nonetheless pursuing their career as house-sitters, regardless of the disastrous incidents of the earlier. in the interim they're staying in Greta Simmonds’ residence, that's at the moment among possession. Thea is torn among relocating again domestic or anticipating the execution of the desire. in the end, she does have awesome funds due. Then the invention of a physique in a close-by box takes the choice out of Thea’s arms, and he or she reveals herself embroiled in a homicide research once more. Having befriended the police’s merely suspect, Drew Slocombe, Thea believes him to be blameless. As Thea and Drew interact to transparent his identify, it slowly dawns on them that during a village simmering with secrets and techniques, a way and a purpose may be laid at anybody’s door.

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It was windy, the trees tossing loudly overhead. Broad Campden was a mile or two away from Chipping Campden, in the middle of the Cotswolds. It was a region I hardly knew at all, the road map on the passenger seat a vital part of my equipment as I transported the dead woman in her cardboard coffin to her place of rest. Cardboard had been selected after an exhaustive discussion about the coffin, a year before. ‘Willow,’ she had said, to begin with. ’ When I told her the price, she gulped. ‘And that’s with only a modest mark-up,’ I added.

He choked out the last words, and retreated to the edge of the group, turning his back on us all. A long silence followed. I waited for the mother to go to her unhappy boy, in vain. The father was equally unresponsive. I almost went to give him a hug myself, but resisted. After a minute or so, a small woman I had not managed to place in the general scheme of things strolled calmly to the lad and laid a hand lightly on his arm. I couldn’t see the look they exchanged, but it seemed to be right.

But you ought to have a look at the village, first. It’s really interesting. ’ She shrugged. ‘Paul isn’t very interested. I know Blockley, you see,’ she added. ’ She was confiding in me against her better nature, the way people often did. I was good at simply absorbing revelations and vague musings like this. I watched her face, which had relaxed and softened as she spoke. ‘A man was murdered,’ she went on. ‘I hadn’t realised until today how close the two places are. ’ I reminded myself of why I was there.

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