It’s been two years since attorney / solicitor Eric Ward dealt with the murder at Sedleigh Hall. His early onset glaucoma isn’t any better; in fact, his eye specialist has just recommended an operation that has a 50 / 50 chance of either success or blindness (this is approximately 1980, so laser surgery hasn’t been invented yet). Eric has qualified as a solicitor, and he’s working as such full-time at the firm of Francis, Shaw and Elder in Newcastle.
He has an appointment with the son for a longstanding client of the firm, Amos Saxby. The youngest son Jack wants to talk about the Saxby farms, and neither Eric nor his assistant can find a number of the Saxby files. What Jack wants is to take his father on in court – the farm promised to him (and owned by his mother) has been taken back. Complicating the case is that Paul Joseph, son of the law firm’s principal, had his hands all over the old files and the old case, and neglected to file the proper legal documents.
The firm is at legal and reputation risk, Jack Saxby is determined to go to court, his mother has a stroke, and his father loves grandstanding in the courtroom. And then Jack Saxby is killed late at night in a hit-and run, and one or both of his older brothers might be the culprits.
In The Farming Murder by English mystery writer Roy Lewis, solicitor Ward delves deeper into what’s happened, and he discovers a family filled with secrets, large egos, greed, and a desire for revenge. And a new kind of seabed-mining investment proposal seems to be playing a role.
Lewis is the author of some 60 other mysteries, novels, and short story collections. His Inspector Crow series includes A Lover Too Many, Murder in the Mine,The Woods Murder, Error of Judgment, and Murder for Money, among others. The Eric Ward series, of which The Sedleigh Hall Murder is the first (and originally published as A Certain Blindness in 1981), includes 17 novels. The Arnold Landon series is comprised of 22 novels. Lewis lives in northern England.
There’s at least one more Eric Ward mystery published by Lewis, although I believe there are others being prepared for publication. The Farming Murder is a classic British mystery, filled with dark motives, unexpected twists, and a sympathetic detective who isn’t a policeman but a lawyer.