Death by Aloe-Seed: A Country Parson’s Singular Tale
Struggling to maintain his usual round of pastoral care, agricultural concerns, family life and church services, the vicar of Sherburn in Elmete (1686-1771), parson and part-time farmer, again finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation forced on him by the indolence of the local law officers. He skitters about in pursuit of a one-eared footpad, a scarred man and an elusive pedlar, is arrested and tried for theft, thwarts a plot to murder the local miller and confronts a villainous highwayman – all, apparently, to no purpose. However, by resolutely excluding curses, spirits and bogles - the explanations offered by others - and concentrating on rational solutions to the mystery, he succeeds, finally and triumphantly, in identifying the murderer.
Expertly edited for modern readers by the redoubtable Mr Falconer, this second chronicle of the doings of the vicar of Sherburn in Elmete draws the reader cosily into eighteenth-century village life where medicine is primitive, travel arduous and time-consuming and officers of the law less than eager to perform their functions.