- Summaries (3)
The DeQuettevilles and the Fleetwoods have been enemies since the English Civil War. Now the DeQuettevilles are dying, each first seeing a headless horseman. Is the ancient feud to blame? Or is there a modern murderer at large?
As the aristocratic De Qutteville family prepares for a Civil war reenactment battle, elderly Bentham De Quetteville falls to his death from a roof after seeing a headless horseman. The family legend is that this is the ghost of ancestor Sir Geoffrey De Quetteville whose appearance spells death to those who encounter him. Reasonable Toby De Quetteville's first wife died after an apparent meeting with the spectre, a fact which traumatised his son Simon. Barnaby is sceptical until Toby's unpleasant twin Julian also dies after seeing the horseman. Toby's ambitious wife Betty, who will become lady of the manor if her father-in-law Ludo also dies, becomes a prime suspect, as do neighbouring couple the Fleetwoods, long involved in a land dispute with the De Quettevilles. Barnaby must decide which of them, or any other family member is committing murder whilst perpetuating the myth of the dark rider.
DCI Barnaby and DS Jones investigate the death of Benson DeQuetteville who fell from the roof of the family manor house after seeing a headless horseman in the courtyard. His last word to his nephew Toby Dequetteville - who also saw the headless horseman - was simply 'Geoffrey'. Several members of the family are quite open about their dislike of the dead man but are less open about the family legend that says the headless horseman is their 17th century ancestor, Geffroy DeQuetteville, whose appearance always portends a death in the family. Toby's mentally disturbed son Simon DeQuetteville has always claimed that the headless horseman had appeared prior to his mother's death. The DeQuettevilles have had a centuries old row with their neighbors, the Fleetwoods, but two other members of the DeQuetteville family will die before Barnaby figures out just what is going on.
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