She pranced towards the edge of the clearing, swerved and came back for another fire vault. Her hands moved in gestures of sinuous supplication. . . Then Mrs Pentatuke would halt on tiptoe, shut tight her eyes behind the bejewelled glasses, and cry in a rich tenor: "O mighty spirit! We are thine! Amen evil from us deliver but!" ' It is the eve of Saint Walpurga and the respectable housewives of Flaxborough are dancing naked around fires. It is also brought to Inspector Purbright's attention that there are darker forces at work. This includes reports of Satanism, cult sacrifice and black magic, as well as the vicious ritual killing that shocks the town. Is there a practitioner of the dark arts in Flaxborough or is that just a smokescreen for a mere murder? Broomsticks over Flaxborough is the seventh in Colin Watson's 'Flaxborough chronicles'. First published in 1972 it was described by Julian Symons as having 'all the virtues one looks for in a crime novel.'

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