Schoolmaster Tom Kenyon rents a room from the Becks, an older couple in the village of Comerford. From the first time she opens her home's door to him, Annet Beck - 18 years old, just through school, and beautiful - captures his heart. Annet's aging parents keep her safe at all times, Kenyon soon realizes, and she's so safe that he wonders how she can bear being smothered. She works for the village's most prominent and wealthy woman, as a private secretary who's brought home by chauffeur whenever she stays late. She goes out for church, choir practice, and walks; and whenever she attends a dance or goes shopping in another village, she has a companion who's there to report everything back to her mother. She dates only young men her mother pre-approves, and she makes no protest about any of this. But then comes the long weekend when Annet climbs the nearby Hallowmount, and vanishes from late Thursday until late Tuesday. When her father and Tom Kenyon meet her as she crosses the Hallowmount on her way home, after they've gone there in desperation to search for clues to her disappearance, Annet declares that as far as she knows it's still Thursday. She claims to have no memory of the time since then. This echoes a local legend concerning the Hallowmount, of a "witch" who vanished there for five days and returned certain that for her no time had passed.
Inspector George Felse does not believe Annet's story for one minute. But Annet persists in that story, and Felse cannot shake her. Nor can her parents, nor can Tom Kenyon - and Inspector Felse, who knows exactly where Annet was during that weekend, fears that she will become a killer's next target after being made his unknowing accessory. Can Felse get Annet to cooperate, and save her own life?
The plot of this entry in the Felse Series by Ellis Peters is a thin one, but the setting - a fictional Welsh border village that's home to George, Bunty, and their teen-aged son Dominic - makes up for the plot with its richness. The characters are nicely written, too, although I found Annet just a bit hard to believe. Not the best book in the series, but enjoyable nevertheless.
--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 science fiction EPPIE winner "Regs"