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Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home…
Ten years ago, at ‘The Brindle Horse’ Hotel, Amarinda Siddaway ran barefoot out of the fog, with a bloody knife in her hand and a children’s rhyme on her lips. Tangled with rumors of lurid scandal, an illicit love affair with a young man a dozen years her junior, and a missing corpse, the mystery of Mrs. Siddaway seemed destined never to be solved. Tried for murder and acquitted, the scarlet woman disappeared from the world just as thoroughly as her alleged victim.
But was she truly innocent, or did she get away with murder?
Now, a decade later, a very similar crime has been committed, once again at the same hotel. Can it be nothing more than simple coincidence that several characters involved in the first incident are present at the scene of the second? Another woman with a bloody weapon in her hand; another nursery rhyme, and another missing dead man.
Some folk might think that old ghosts are to blame. Or is it the ladybirds again?
A spinning weathervane on a boathouse roof points in turn to all four directions of the compass. And four letters, sealed with red wax, stamped with the image of a ladybird, are out in the world, linking both crimes with a curious, winding chain.
And there is only one man with the patience and wisdom to unwind it. Only one man can connect the clues and stop that weathervane spinning.
Detective Inspector Deverell is not fond of coincidences or the supernatural. But whatever is going on at ‘The Brindle Horse’, he’ll get to the bottom of it. Fortunately, he has the eager amateur sleuth and creator of remarkable cakes, Miss Lucy Greenwood, to help him out.