Why wouldn’t your wedding day be one of the happiest of your life? Because it’s your last.
Amateur sleuth and Scottish barrister Rex Graves and his fiancée Helen are attending the nuptials of her former student in Derbyshire. The weather is miserable, the bride is heavily pregnant and the family members are bickering. Polly Newcombe is a wild child. Her groom, accountant Timmy Thorpe, is a sickly momma’s boy whose fraternal twin is a womanizer who neglects his wife and children. The reception is at the family home of Newcombe Court, a showcase for an amazing combination of architectural styles, where Polly and her mother still live after the disappearance of her father years before. When the bride, her mother and the vicar all suffer what appears to be a bad case of food poisoning, leaving Polly’s baby the only survivor, Rex is suspicious. Having prosecuted a case of arsenic poisoning once before, he recognizes the symptoms. The police are glad to have help from Rex, especially when a valuable collection of snuff boxes is stolen and Polly’s paternal aunt is found dead, pushed off the tower. Identifying still another corpse found at the train station as the missing Mr. Newcombe strongly suggests that someone has a grudge against the family. Rex must work through a large number of suspects in a limited time if he and Helen are to get on with their planned hiking trip.
Rex’s fifth case (Murder on the Moor
, 2011, etc.) is a derivative but pleasant classic English mystery.