The Reverend Cecil Willard is not one of those born to be loved…
A scholarly and austere man, ex-headmaster of the local boys’ school, his stern moral principles and die-hard opinions have never endeared him either to those close to him or to his neighbours in the village in which he has lived and worked for so many years.
The debilitating effects of a recent stroke have only made him more bad-tempered and difficult to live with — as his only child, Laura, knows all too well.
Yet despite his often aggravating personality and presence, no one could ever imagine doing him any real harm…until the discovery of his murdered body at the foot of the altar steps in the church shocks the whole community.
As DCI Gil Mayo begins his investigations into the murder, he soon discovers that there are plenty of people in Castle Wyvering who had cause to resent the old man, and one at least who had reason to fear him for the knowledge he possessed.
But the question remains: why has Willard been killed?
Each interview seems to produce another viable suspect, from his submissive daughter to his animal-loving neighbours, his troubled gardener to the prospective headmasters for the local Uplands House School.
Mayo’s investigation leads him down more than one strange path.
What does the power struggle for the Headship of the school, or the shooting of three badgers, have to do with Willard’s murder?
And who is the mysterious Sara mentioned in his diary?
The answers only begin to appear after Mayo’s inquiries reach out beyond Wyvering and begin to connect up with another case in nearby Hurstfield…and the final solution to the murder will not become apparent until the killer has struck one more time…
Late of this Parish is a chilling mystery filled with suspense that will keep you hooked.
Marjorie Eccles was born in Yorkshire and spent her childhood there and on the Northumbrian coast. She later lived for many years in the Midlands, where her crime novels are set. She has written more than twenty books and short stories for broadcasting and serials, and is the recipient of the Agatha Christie Short Story Styles Award.