When literary agent Elsie Thirkettle is invited to accompany tall but obscure crime-writer Ethelred Tressider to dinner at Muntham Court, she is looking forward to sneering at his posh friends. What she is not expecting is that, half way through the evening, her host will be found strangled in his locked study. Since there is no way that a murderer could have escaped, the police conclude that Sir Robert Muntham has killed himself. A distraught Lady Muntham, however, asks Ethelred to conduct his own investigation. Ethelred (ably hindered by Elsie) sets out to resolve a classic locked room mystery; but is any one of the assorted guests and witnesses actually telling the truth? And can Ethelreds account be trusted? In the process, we meet one of Ethelreds own creations, the fourteenth-century detective Master Thomas, who is helped in his investigations of a mediaeval crime at Muntham Court by a small and rather pushy Abbess with a taste for honey cakes . . . Is it possible that Master Thomas can shed some light on the twenty-first century case, and on Ethelreds own motives for investigating Sir Roberts death? The Herring in the Library is another ingenious outing for crime fictions most mismatched double-act. Tyler juggles characters, story, wit and clever one-liners with perfect balance THE TIMES

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