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The Oleander Press

There's Death in the Churchyard

There's Death in the Churchyard

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With horror and fear twitching every feature Mr Ponderby Jonson backed away.  “Don’t let him touch me!” he cried. “Keep him off! He’s a murderer – a murderer, I tell you! That poison… But I’ll not stand it… I won’t…” 

Mrs Cliffe, the vicar’s wife, had asked the organist to ‘exhibit the old organ’s defects rather than its qualities’ to elicit a hoped-for donation from the wealthy visitor. This wasn't to be, as not only had a most inconsiderate virtuoso performance been provided but financier, Mr. Ponderby Jonson, was now sprawled on the churchyard walk in the crisp, sparkling sunlight  - dead as a door-nail, after feeling unwell during the service. 

Could the perpetrator really be Captain Richard Stoyner - the respected warden and Squire of Sutton Eachem? The previous evening there’d been a ferocious argument, overheard by the under-housemaid, between Jonson and Stoyner. The morning’s shocking death has the villagers in agreement that the Squire had perpetrated the deed - and was perhaps justified in doing so! 

As they've a vested interest, the vicar and his family attempt to uncover the truth. It seems straightforward - especially with Stoyner having the motive,  the means and the poison... It seems like an open-and-shut case - but is it?

Malapropisms a-plenty run rife through this delightfully humorous village mystery much praised by Dorothy L. Sayers, who said that 'I give Mr Gore full marks for atmosphere and entertainment value, with a special distinction for one quaint device which he has worked into his solution'. 

Artists and writers, Cora Josephine Gordon (nee Turner) (1879-1950) and her husband, Godfrey Jervis ‘Jan’ Gordon (1882-1944), produced many books, including three detective stores written under the pseudonym of William Gore. Death in the Churchyard was published in 1934.

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