By Gerald Verner
A thirsty evil had been unleashed.
Novelist Peter Chard enjoyed living in the beautiful country village of Bishop’s Thatcham. But he was beginning to regard the inhabitants of the village as a decidedly queer lot: full of envy, hatred and malice, and without charity.
He visualised the village as a gigantic cauldron, bubbling and seething with unknown and unsuspected ingredients. He feared that one day the simmering contents would froth up and boil over, and somebody, perhaps more than one person, would be badly hurt by the scalding, unpleasant brew.
And his misgivings were justified when a woman who was one of the pillars of the local church was found dead in her pew, brutally stabbed through the brain.
Gerald Verner (1897-1980) was the pseudonym of British writer John Robert Stuart Pringle. Born in London, Verner wrote more than 120 novels that have been translated in over 35 languages, and many of his books have been adapted into films, radio serials and stage plays. Verner also wrote forty-four Sexton Blake tales.