The Kingsmarkham police force is determined that no criminal activity will disturb the music festival at Sundays, and has sent along a couple of detectives to help keep the peace. Wexford’s and Burden’s crash course in popular culture is interrupted by the discovery of a corpse in a nearby quarry. The body is that of Dawn Stonor, who had disappeared - and been killed - several days before the festival began, but coincidentally was a childhood friend of the headline act, Zeno Vedast (real name Harold Goodbody). She had claimed that they’d reconnected, but then Dawn was a compulsive liar where celebrities were concerned. She was obviously planning to meet someone, and Wexford is convinced it was a resident of one of the houses backing onto the quarry, despite the lack of evidence to suggest she entered any of them. The one thing that might break the case wide open is if someone can explain why fashion-conscious Dawn was found wearing a frumpy, outdated dress that didn’t fit and wasn’t hers.
I think I’d have enjoyed the Sundays festival (except for the camping bit). But I wouldn’t have liked to be in Zeno’s inner circle - there’s something not pleasant about him and neither the manager nor the manager’s wife is too charming. That perspective of the music industry is something of an antidote to the current round of Australian Idol hoopla. I don’t think I’d have found Dawn easy to get along with either . . . but this is still a good whodunit in spite of some of the characters. A puzzling crime, false leads, conflicting information, a dearth of evidence - and that dress (which Wexford and Burden needed a woman to explain the real significance of). Since fashion occupies a certain portion of the story its age does show, but it’s rather amusing to conjure mental images of the assorted 70s horrors described - especially a certain lot of wallpaper. And happily Burden has recovered his sanity since No More Dying Then, though I still thought it couldn’t be much fun for his kids to have him for a parent.
I just wish these books would end with a list of the source of all Wexford’s quotations! I recognised a grand total of one, and I’m sure a list would provide me with plenty of ideas for things to read.