On New Year’s Eve a string of grisly deaths strike a remote English hamlet
For centuries Cobbold-in-the-Marsh has been haunted by the ghost of a Jesuit priest who lost his head rather than deny his faith. Since then, there hasn’t been much bloodshed in this peculiar little village, but all that changes during the icy week just after Christmas. First a policeman is found drowned in the canal, a tragic death that shows signs of foul play. Then, as the whole town gathers for midnight mass on New Year’s Eve, the prodigal son of the manor house staggers down the aisle. The congregation thinks he’s drunk—until they notice the blood seeping down his side.
Detective-Inspector Thomas Littlejohn and Detective-Sergeant Robert Cromwell are called in from Scotland Yard to oversee the investigation. As they dig into the quirks and secrets of this eerie little enclave, they find that Cobbold is haunted by more than a decapitated priest.
“A leisurely but fascinating investigation.” —The Mystery Fancier on Corpse at the Carnival
“Littlejohn achieves his goal spectacularly and successfully.” —Kirkus Reviews on Calamity at Harwood George Bellairs was the pseudonym of Harold Blundell (1902–1985), an English crime author best known for the creation of Detective-Inspector Thomas Littlejohn. Born in Heywood, near Lancashire, Blundell introduced his famous detective in his first novel, Littlejohn on Leave (1941). A low-key Scotland Yard investigator whose adventures were told in the Golden Age style of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, Littlejohn went on to appear in more than fifty novels, including The Crime at Halfpenny Bridge (1946), Outrage on Gallows Hill (1949), and The Case of the Headless Jesuit (1950).
In the 1950s Bellairs relocated to the Isle of Man, a remote island in the Irish Sea, and began writing full time. He continued writing Thomas Littlejohn novels for the rest of his life, taking occasional breaks to write standalone novels, concluding the series with An Old Man Dies (1980).