THE YEMBURY MURDERS
Beginning with A Patch of Nettles, all stories are anchored in the fictional Dorset village of Yembury, where murder and other crimes become almost commonplace. A rich variety of characters, ranging from the well-to-do to the wage labourer, populate the novels. Joyce Agate, who starts out as a detective constable, rises to the rank of inspector as she becomes increasingly involved with Yembury crime.
Beneath the attractive surface of Yembury there is a seething resentment by the locals towards the middle class incomers who tend to takes over the running of the village. A Pop Music festival instigated by the nouveau riche owner sparks hostilities. There is a ‘peasant’s revolt’, two murders, one of which results in the conviction of an innocent man.
Tom Gould, a shepherd. is the ‘everyday sort of man’ at the centre of this novel. Surrounding his apparently uncomplicated life the vicious social undercurrents of Yembury result in more murders to be solved by the rising detective Joyce Agate.
This third excursion into Yembury continues to explore the genteel and not so genteel lives of its inhabitants and their propensity for leaving dead bodies to challenge police detectives. Joyce Agat once more rises to the occasion.
In a Naughty World
Just before Christmas an abandoned baby is found in the woods. At about the same time another new born infant is snatched from its pram, Neither case is easily solved but Joyce Agate once more wades into the complexities of Yembury life as she brings the cases to a close at the end of the Christmas season.
When the police investigate the remains of a bonfire they discover the charred remains of a dead body, believed to be that of an elderly unpublished writer. The investigation takes us into the world of publishing and a cover-up of the truth behind the death of Princess Diana. A series of ‘accidental’ deaths raises Joyce Agate’s suspicions and the investigation moves off her beat to London.
Joyce Agate was exiled to Australia at the end of Flames. There she met and married a journalist who now takes an interest in the Princess Diana story and the apparent cover up. As a consequence they come to England on a holiday and expose themselves to more risk in the pursuit of this investigation.
Joyce Agate, now widowed after the murder of her husband, returns to England and settles in Yembury, where more crime and murder waits solution.
A retired judge with a reputation for giving severe sentences moves to Yembury with his wife. Once there he takes an interest in some of Yembury’s past murder cases and uses his influence to reopen investigations. Before too much time has passed the judge himself meets his end. Accident or murder?