DEEP BENEATH US,

4 June, US & UK 

THE WITCHING HOUR, Book 16

coming to the UK 2nd May 2024, US Sept 3rd.
 

It’s the spring of 1939 and Dandy Gilver, the mother of two grown-up sons, can’t think of anything except the deteriorating state of Europe and the threat of war. Detective work is the furthest thing from her mind. It takes a desperate cri de coeur from an old friend to persuade her to take on a case.

Daisy Esslemont’s husband Silas has vanished. It’s not the first time, but he has never embarrassed her with his absences before. If he misses the regimental dinner where he is due to be honoured, however, even his old comrades-in-arms won’t be laughing and his wife, so she says, will never smile at him again.

That much is true. It doesn’t take Dandy and her side-kick, Alec Osborne, long to find the wandering Silas: but when they track him down to the quaint East Lothian village of Dirleton, he is dead, lying on the village green with his head bashed in, in full view of a row of alms houses, two pubs, a manse, a school and even the watchtowers of Dirleton Castle. And yet not a single one of the villagers admits to seeing a thing.

As Dandy and Alec begin to chip away at the determined silence of the Dirletonites, they cannot imagine what unites such a motley crew: stern schoolmistress, bookish minister, dilettante tea-shop owner, doughty cooks, aged gardeners, farmworkers, schoolchildren, and even a hermit-poetess who had the best view of all from her turret home. Only one person – Mither Golane, the oldest resident of the village – is loose-lipped enough to let something slip, but her quiet aside must surely be the rambling of a woman in her second childhood. Dandy and Alec know that Silas was no angel, but “He’s the devil”, as Mither Golane insists, is too outlandish a claim to help them find his killer.

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