When Rupert Sethleigh’s body is found one morning, laid out in the village butcher’s shop and minus its head, the inhabitants of Wandles Parva aren’t particularly upset. Sethleigh was a blackmailing money lender and when Mrs Bradley begins her investigation she finds no shortage of suspects. It soon transpires that most of the village seem to have been wandering about Manor Woods, home of the mysterious druidic stone on which Sethleigh’s blood is found splashed, on the night he was murdered.
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Noel Wells, curate in the sleepy village of Saltmarsh, likes to spend his time dancing in the study with the vicar’s niece, until one day the vicar’s unpleasant wife discovers her unmarried housemaid is pregnant and trouble begins. It is left to Noel to call for the help of sometimes detective and full-time Freudian Mrs Bradley, who sets out on an unnervingly unorthodox investigation into the mysterious pregnancy.
Hillmaston School has chosen The Mikado for their next school performance and, in recognition of her generous offer to finance the production, their meek and self-effacing arithmetic mistress is offered a key role. But when she disappears mid-way through the opening night performance and is later found dead, unconventional psychoanalyst Mrs Bradley is called in to investigate. To her surprise she soon discovers that the hapless teacher had quite a number of enemies – all with a motive for murder…
When Mrs Bradley’s grandson finds an old diary in her rented cottage it attracts the interest of this most unconventional of detectives, for the book’s now deceased owner was once suspected of the murders of both her aunt and cousin. Does the missing diary finally reveal what happened to old Aunt Flora? Is the case of Bella Foxley really closed? And what happened to the boys from the local reformatory that went missing at the same time?
Mrs Bradley is visiting the picturesque village of Spey in search of a book of spells believed to belong to her ancestor, the witch Mary Toadflax. During her time in the village, a junior master from the nearby school is found murdered. Gerald Conway was despised by both pupils and peers and there is no shortage of suspects. Can the redoubtable Mrs Bradley use tact, wit and just a touch of black magic to make the boys and their masters divulge the truth about his death?