If Chief Inspector Barnaby can have his own TV series, that continues even after he left the show, then I see now reason Henry Tibbett couldn’t have his own series set in the 50’s-60’s. Or at least have just this book filmed. Mark Gatiss needs to add playing another weird eccentric to his resume.
The book revolves around the kooky Manciple family, even though none of them are the murdered party. The victim is Raymond Mason, nouveau riche in the village who has his eyes set on purchasing the Manciple estate. But really, no one cares about him. Not even his own son is very interested in him.
The Manciple paterfamilias makes his introduction by holding Tibbett at gunpoint as he arrives on scene. And with that, the book is off and running. There’s a brother who speaks in crossword clues, who also is a missionary from Africa and has a penchant for playing the clarinet in his bathing suit. There’s Dora, the older than dirt aunt whose deafness doesn’t stop her from contributing to the conversation. There’s Violet, the amenable wife that manages to keep the house in order, somehow. Then there’s Maud, the intellectual, beatnik daughter and her fiance. Add to that is ongoing references to the Head, the late father of the family who died years before by driving down the center of the road, because that is his God given right, as a tax payer, after all. Unfortunately, his lawyer held the same view and neither was too fond of moving over for someone else, so their head-on collision was really inevitable. Of course, with the old man and the lawyer dead, no one is left who really knew where the family’s money was kept, which lead the Manciple family into the predicament of having to rent the guesthouse to the murder victim in the first place. If that sounded crazy, it’s because the whole Manciple clan is and they make for a great book.