are in the sleepy village of Sherburn in Elmete, Yorkshire, in the year of
grace 1729. When George Bywater, the vicar’s servant, is clubbed to death as
he collects the parish tithes, the vicar undertakes to track his killer.
Unfortunately, his efforts are thwarted at every turn. Threatened with
violence, arrested and tried on three separate occasions, on charges that
include murder, harbouring a felon and poaching, he is saved from
transportation – or worse! – only by an act of God (naturally). He is hauled
before the archdeacon and then the archbishop himself for carrying out his
investigation at the expense of his pastoral duties. Forbidden to proceed as
he wishes, he yet takes advantage of a tip-off from a local magistrate and a
chance encounter with a reformed footpad to pursue his inquiries - in a pure
spirit of duty, of course – and comes up with a peculiarly delicate
challenge to his conscience.
This light-hearted tale is the third Chronicle from Sherburn, in which
Julius Falconer presents for the modern reader the absurd adventures penned
by the hapless vicar.
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