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When Polly takes an important village funeral but finds a body already occupying the grav, she wonders whether it is time to move...
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This gripping murder mystery with the background of the Church of England in samll country villages, and continuing to follow the exploits of the Reverend Polly Hewitt, is sure to enthrall you from page one.
When the Reverend Polly Hewitt starts her first post as rector of four rural parishes near Norwich, she discovers life is not as blissfully serence as she had imagined.
A series of unpleasant incidents targeting Polly show that someone hates her. But who is it, and why such anger against Polly?
The man drove slowly down Anglesham Road, to the point where the footpath abutting the road snakes away to the east. For the final few hundred metres he switched off the engine and cut the lights. Drawing away from the road he parked carefully behind the old oak tree, thick now with summer foliage and generous with its shelter for all-comers, prey and predator alike.
Good. The place was deserted; no lovers entwined in each other's arms oblivious of the rest of the world until startled by some unexpected event, no late night dog walkers taking advantage of the sultry weather. At two in the morning the population of Anglesham (one thousand, one hundred and ten at the last census) was safely asleep.
Cautiously, the man slid from the driver's seat and approached the rear of the car. Carefully he raised the lid of the boot, pausing after every click—sounding to him as loud as gunshots on the still night air—until he was certain he was alone. Struggling more than he had anticipated to lift his burden from the boot, he wondered fleetingly whether he had been entirely wise to opt for the footpath for the last quarter of a mile.
Hefting her body over his shoulder in a fireman's lift, again he reached into the boot, this time for a shovel, but it was difficult to manage with the weight across his back. For a moment he froze in terror as the shovel clanged against the metal side of the vehicle, but nothing stirred. Still, not wanting to risk more sound than was necessary, he left the boot open as he started on his trek.
The burden which had seemed light when he formulated his plan, grew heavier with every step he took, until, when his destination finally hove in sight, he was ready to drop from fatigue. As he placed the rolled carpet gently on the ground to assess the situation, both legs were trembling from the effort of the walk, but there was no time for rest. In another hour or so the first golden streaks of dawn would begin to lighten the night sky and by then he had to be home in bed, asleep.
He stared down into the hole, shining his torch into its blackness but unable to penetrate to the bottom. The hole was twice as deep as he had imagined. Worry creased the man's forehead. He had not thought to bring a ladder. If he clambered down into those depths, how would he climb out again? Time to put plan B into action, although to be honest, he hadn't thought of a plan B. Plan A had seemed foolproof back in the comfort of his own home.
The sheer impossibility of walking all the way back to his car carrying such a weight left the man with no options. With a murmured prayer he opened the carpet, rolling his burden into the hole, trying not to retch at the thud as it hit the bottom. Then, firmly pushing all regrets from his mind, he set to work with the shovel, throwing soil from the heap into the bottom of the hole. He worked solidly for half an hour, by which time he was sweating profusely but estimated that the bottom of the hole would be covered, concealing its recent contents. The torch was virtually useless, but when he was relatively satisfied that the hole had a new, false bottom effectively hiding its addition, he turned his attention to the remaining heap of soil, digging, pushing, and patting with the shovel until there was no trace of his inroads. It was, he thought irrelevantly, like making sand castles on Great Yarmouth beach when he was a small boy.
His task completed, he murmured a second prayer, said a quiet and reverent farewell, lifted the shovel across his shoulder and returned to the car without incident.
Within the hour he was home in bed, but experiencing less relief than he had expected. Since sleep eluded him, he fetched a bottle of whiskey and began to plan for next day. The first job would be to take the used carpet to the tip early in the morning, before too many people were about. After that he must thoroughly clean the car inside and out, washing the obscuring mud from the number plates and concentrating particularly on the inside of the boot. Then he would need to defrost and purify the freezer, before it could be used again to store food.
His plans made, the bottle emptied, and his eyelids beginning to droop, the man fell asleep, just as the first fat raindrops began to fall.