Independent old man Walter Fletcher is found dead within two days of moving out of the home that he has lived in for forty years. His death is at first presumed to be accidental. Superintendent Lambert and Sergeant Hook find to their embarrassment that his granddaughter's suspicions of foul play are only too well founded.
Gurney Close isn't the sort of place where anything untoward should happen. It's just a small, newly-built cul-de-sac with three nice houses and a bungalow overlooking the river Wye. The people who move in -- three married couples and a divorcee --don't expect much excitement beyond some neighbourhood friendliness. With this in mind, they organise a party to celebrate moving in. Everything goes well and a good time is had by all -- until one of them is found dead the next morning. Lambert and Hook are faced with a baffling crime. Their harmless, ordinary victim turns out to have a darker past than they could have suspected.
Superintendent John Lambert finds that a round of golf is the perfect diversion, especially when he’s beating his sergeant, Bert Hook. When Hook tops a ball horribly, he comes across something far more terrible lying in a ditch...
When the committee members of the Oldford Literary Festival all receive anonymous letters telling them to resign or die, it marks the start of an unusual case for Chief Superintendent Lambert and DS Hook.
A successful British television producer who fancies himself as a Hollywood mogul, Sam Jackson makes enemies easily and delights in the fact. It is no great surprise that such a man should meet a violent death. Detective Chief Superintendent Lambert and Detective Sergeant Hook deduce that the person who killed him is almost certainly to be found among the company of actors who are shooting a series of detective mysteries in rural Herefordshire. But these are people who make a living by acting out other people's fictions - and the two detectives find interrogating them a difficult business. How can Lambert and Hook fight their way to the truth when faced with a cast of practised deceivers?
Dennis Cooper is one of the few full-time resident National Trust curators in England and lives with his wife in the grounds of the spectacular Westbourne Gardens, which receives thousands of visitors each year. On the face of things, Dennis lives a perfect life and has a dream job, but this idyllic setting is riven with dark secrets, and it isn't long before foul play draws Lambert and Hook into this troubled Eden.
Skeletons have a habit of revealing themselves eventually. When a human skeleton is discovered on the boundary of a 20-year-old property development, it seems there are a large number of people who may know the identity of the corpse and how it got there. But 20 years is a long time and those individuals were very different people back then. Skeletons are being revealed in all senses and there are many prominent local figures who are beginning to feel uncomfortable and afraid. It's up to Detective Chief Superintendent Lambert and Detective Sergeant Hook to dig around in the past and unearth the truth of how and why the body ended up buried in the ground all those years ago.
Cajoled into auditioning for a local play by the formidable Mrs Dalrymple, Bert Hook finds that amateur dramatics are not quite as he imagined. He meets a rather surprising cast of characters: moody Michael Carey, a talented actor with a big future ahead of him; shoplifter Becky Clegg, who claims she has put her disreputable past behind her and Jack Dawes with a history of violent crime. But there is a much bigger surprise in store for Hook. When the play's director is found with his throat slashed, Hook is responsible for uncovering the truth - and fast. Who is innocent, who is just playing a part and who is rotten to the core?