When the leader of a New Age commune, the Lodge of the Golden Windhorse, is murdered, the local rumor-mill goes into overdrive. In trying to solve the murder, Chief Inspector Barnaby learns that the residents of the Windhorse commune are all concealing complicated pasts.
Murder in a country manor inhabited by a cult of mystics tests the patience and skills of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, last seen in Murder at Madingley Grange . After the death of cult member Jim Carter is ruled an accident, various residents of the Lodge of the Golden Windhorse in the English village of Compton Dando go about their normal lives--communing with the spirits, astral-planing to the planet Venus, holding ``psychic weekends.'' One event looms, however: a scheduled visit by financier Guy Gamelin, a ruthless robber-baron and father of cult member and heiress Suhami, known as Sylvie Gamelin in her earlier life. Following Gamelin's unsuccessful attempt to reconcile with Suhami, the Master of the lodge is killed by a knife thrown during a psychic regression by one of the cultists. Barnaby's investigation uncovers a variety of suspects and discrepancies: Suhami accuses her father; several of the residents, including the Master, prove to be other than they claim; a retarded boy holds important information but cannot speak about it. Graham's competent procedural works most effectively as a wickedly acid yet sympathetic portrayal of a group of society's misfits seeking comfort and a place in the world.