DEATH OF A STRANGER
Barnaby returns from a holiday in Provence to discover an unidentified tramp has been beaten to death in the woods near the village of Marshwood.
In his absence Superintendent Ronald Pringle has put a local young man, Billy Gurdie, behind bars before retiring to his new home in the village.
The villagers seem impressed by his quick action, especially James Fitzroy and Marcia Tranter who are joint masters of the Marshwood Hunt, which Pringle is keen to join.
However, Barnaby's instincts that a wrongful arrest has been made are reinforced when Billy's father Ben is found dead of a shotgun wound, having apparently committed suicide at the scene of the crime.
Barnaby and Troy start to dig further into the village's past and discover the woods are the property of rich estate-owner Grahame Tranter, son of Marcia and her one-time husband Simon, who was declared dead years earlier after deserting his wife.
Rumours circulate that Grahame is not, in fact, Simon Tranter's son and that his cousin Henry Carstairs, a taxidermist granted permission to hunt for animal corpses in the woods, should have inherited the estate.
Who was the tramp? What is the significance of some pornographic photographs found near the bodies? And how much does Linda Wagstaff, a reclusive who lives in a run-down railway carriage in the woods, actually know?
As the death toll continues to rise, Barnaby and Troy must race against time to find the answers and trap the real killer.
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