Robert Barnard is a new author for me, and I think I will be reading more of his books. The narrator is the wife of the village veterinarian. He is well-liked and involved in the local church. His wife, Helen, notices the spiteful older women who set the "standards of behavior" in Hexton on Weir. When asked to influence her husband's duties as a church warden, she refuses. She will not be party to refusing the new vicar who has been sent to replace the late vicar, husband of the standards setters. When Helen's husband is murdered during the annual Fete, Helen decides it must have something to do with the dispute over the new vicar. She plunges right in and starts asking questions. This ruffles everyone's feathers, but she does uncover evidence that unmasks her husband's murderer. The real resolution for Helen comes later and is a complete surprise. Helen is definitely not a sweet, submissive person, which certainly adds spice to the story.

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