It's always flattering to stumble across a writer who shares one's views of the strengths and weaknesses of another writer, as Barnard shares mine of Agatha Christie. In reading his own mysteries since, I've come to the conclusion that, unlike Christie, Barnard is at his best in short fiction, rather than the novel. But he does very well in this novel. It's a little slow going at first, as he sets the scene in a sleepy English village, but sticking with it proves to be well worth the wait once the murder happens. Barnard leads the reader down a primrose path that's worthy of Christie at her best; I'd doubt anyone who claimed to have seen the solution coming. Nor is it a "cheat"; all the clues were there, the solution doesn't insult the reader's intelligence or sense of justice, and the summing up is emotionally satisfying.