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What could be more quintessentially English than an old-fashioned vicarage garden party?

Come with me as we step back in time to an age of gentle entertainments in the shade of the ancient willows. Sip tea and munch a slice of Madeira cake as you patiently await the drawing of the raffle. Browse through the secondhand books on the bric-a-brac stall, and try your hand at skittles. But beware – this is Devon and a game of skittles is a serious business.

And if you were planning a Devonshire murder mystery, how would the crime be committed?

Poison in the tea urn? A deadly blossom on the plant stall? An unfortunate rebound from a badly flung ball at the skittles? Those balls are solid wood, so you never know.

Who will be the victim and who the culprit?

Where do those gravel paths lead? And what is behind that tiny door set into the old gate?

And when Dan Corrigan attends, will he be able to find a cake that fits in with his scrupulous avoidance of dairy products?

Probably not. They're very keen on clotted cream in these parts, so he'll be out of luck. And if, like us, he wins a huge packet of biscuits in the raffle, he won't be able to eat those either. Still, I'm sure his neighbour Alan will polish them off.

Will any of these scenes play out in a new mystery? I'm not sure. Wait and see, my friends. Wait and see.

And if I was you, I'd keep an eye on the vicar. It's the floppy hat that gives him away. And the sandals.

Until next time, chin-chin.

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