Description from back cover:
Was it just a coincidence that the very rich and very Protestant Miss Hampton dined on poisonous escargot just hours after she threatened to cut her cousin, Liam Hampton, out of her will if he married Catholic beauty Meriel Booley Browne? Or did her death have more to do with another old lady, long rumored to be a witch, who put a curse on her head? Or was it the old lady's young companion, Priscilla Hoyle, who perhaps knew some household secret? Or did the cook simply mistake a deadly liniment for a condiment? Maybe it was another distant relative, Ethelwyn Linacre, who thought her son Tim should inherit Hampton Court.
The residents of Bainsborough (a one and three Irish town-one sergeant and three policemen in the local Civic Guard barrack) all have their theories but it's up to Tim, A Trinity college student who dabbles in many areas, from snail cultivation to science, to turn detective and figure out whodunit in this charming Irish mystery.
I absolutely adored this mystery! I have to have the other 3 Sheila Pim books now! Her depiction of Irish village life is delightful and the characters are quirky and lovable.
In chapter 16 Miss Pim writes - 'Already he knew all the relevant facts,* though he had so far failed to assemble them.' at the bottom of the page: * And so does the reader. I thought that was very interesting! So pay close attention from the get go and you might be able to solve it!
Cast of characters:
Miss Rebecca Hampton is 80 and a fierce Protestant, she had her will alter to forbid her heir to marry a Catholic.
Liam Hampton, her cousin and closest relative, thought to be courting a Catholic girl!
Meriel Booley Browne, the Catholic girl in question and so lovely the rector wistfully proclaimed it a pity that 'providence had not seen fit to bestow such beauty on a Protestant'.
Priscilla Hoyle, a Dubliner, and Miss Hampton's secretary-companion. Is she falling in love with Liam?
Tim Linacre, 20, a college student home on holiday, can't make up his mind what he wants to be. Maybe a detective! A distant cousin of Miss Hampton and 2nd in line to inherit the estate.
Lizzie Shegog, town witch, self-proclaimed expert on herbs, and keeper of an errant goat.
Just to mention a few of the wonderful inhabitants of Bainsborough!
Sheila Pim wrote her first detective novel, Common or Garden Crime, to satisfy her father’s thirst for detective stories, the publication of which had been curtailed thanks to the paper shortages which affected neutral Ireland during the “Emergency”—or World War II, as it was called in most other parts of the globe. The book turned into something of a collaboration, at least when it came to research, with Sheila and her accountant father pooling their knowledge of gardening and sharing details about the habits of their Dublin neighbors...click here to finish reading about Sheila Pim at Rue Morgue
I could not find a picture of Ms. Pim:(