[PW] Stumper: English church mystery with (secretly) failing roof

whitem at speakeasy.net whitem at speakeasy.net
Fri Dec 11 09:21:34 PST 2015


I just finished rereading Unhallowed Murder, by Simon Nash, c. 1966. 
This wasn't a village, but a section of London, but just in the nick of 
time, a part of the church roof gives way,  killing the perp, and 
revealing what needed revealing. 
Other than that there's Death at St Asprey's School, by Leo Bruce,where 
the church roof plays a part. 

                                                                                                                                       Mary Lou 
White
                                                                                                                                       
whitem at speakeasy.net

On Wed, 9 Dec 2015 19:02:52 +0000, Jesse Lewis  wrote:

       Pardon cross-postings...this is proving to be a toughie... 

I have a stumper from a patron that I haven't come with much for...an 
English village mystery with a subplot that the roof of the village 
church was slowly, unknown to anyone, starting to fail and was going to 
crash. Just as the mystery was solved, again unknown to anyone, one 
ancient beam wedged into another, and the roof was going to last. 

When I asked if she remembered any other information, she said: "I 
figure I may have read it about 30 - 35 some years ago. It was a time 
when a friend and I were ripping through mystery stories - I also 
remember one by Reginald Hill called "Deadheads" (1983), another by 
Anthony Oliver called "The Pew Group" (1980). It took place in an 
English village, and it seems to me that it starts with or involves 
finding a person who was hanged (suicide? or murder?) from a pole or 
something from the roof of the church. The church building/roof seemed 
to be a central figure in the plot, and I think the vicar was, too. I 
don't remember any of the standard cops (Dalziel/Pascoe, etc.), 
although it could have been in a detective series. What I have always 
remembered is the secret subplot about the church roof (maybe it was a 
Norman church?) - disaster about to strike and then a serendipitous 
settling saving the day."

Any thoughts? In searching (Novelist, Google, Stop You're Killing Me), 
the roof subplot keeps leading me to "Ten Lords A-Leaping" (Benison) 
but I don't think that's it since the roof is known to be failing in 
that one, and the patron's stumper has a roof failing without anyone 
realizing. 

Jesse Lewis

Brownsburg Public Library

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