Struggling to maintain his usual round of pastoral care, agricultural
concerns, family life and church services, the vicar of Sherburn in Elmete
(1686-1771), parson and part-time farmer, again finds himself embroiled in a
murder investigation forced on him by the indolence of the local law
officers. He skitters about in pursuit of a one-eared footpad, a scarred man
and an elusive pedlar, is arrested and tried for theft, thwarts a plot to
murder the local miller and confronts a villainous highwayman Ė all,
apparently, to no purpose. However, by resolutely excluding curses, spirits
and bogles - the explanations offered by others - and concentrating on
rational solutions to the mystery, he succeeds, finally and triumphantly, in
identifying the murderer.
Expertly edited for modern readers by the redoubtable Mr Falconer, this
second chronicle of the doings of the vicar of Sherburn in Elmete draws the
reader cosily into eighteenth-century village life where medicine is
primitive, travel arduous and time-consuming and officers of the law less
than eager to perform their functions.
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