Biography is usually a safe profession. Even rather sedate. But more than one biographer has found that writing about the late great mathematician Gideon Summerfield leads to a hasty retreat. Or something more deadly... Imogen Quy, the coolly competent college nurse at St. Agatha's College, Cambridge, first notices the pattern when her enthusiastic lodger Fran becomes the latest Summerfield biographer. Before she realises how deadly the Summerfield secret is, Fran's life is in danger. And Imogen may be next...
Brisk and neatly plotted, the second Imogen Quy mystery (after The Wyndham Case) relies heavily on the skills of its engaging amateur sleuth, school nurse at St. Agatha's College, Cambridge. Imogen's lodger, graduate student Frances Bullion, has just undertaken to ghostwrite a study of Gideon Summerfield, a relatively obscure mathematician. Always kind, loyal and compassionate (but relentlessly nosy), Imogen agrees to help and soon discovers that the three previous Summerfield biographers are all either missing or dead. Summerfield's vituperative widow hounds Frances and demands the return of her husband's papers, and Imogen is threatened by thugs. What could a bookish mathematician have in his background to inspire such malevolence? Imogen checks with her well-placed contacts (a local detective and the wife of St. Agatha's director of studies) and eventually goes off on a horrific but edifying trip to Wales. A warm circle of friends in a quilting group inadvertently provides some clues to a mystery as intricate and finely constructed as one of the hand-sewn quilts so central to the story.