When the body of a middle-aged woman is found hanging from a yew tree in Stokeworthy churchyard, the police suspect foul play. But the victim is an unlikely one. Pauline Brent was the local doctor’s receptionist and well-liked. She seems to have had no real enemies. And yet someone killed her.
Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson is determined to discover the truth and, once again, it is history that provides him with a clue. His archaeologist friend, Neil Watson, is excavating on the site of a proposed holiday development nearby when he discovers an ancient corpse. Local legend has it that many centuries ago a young woman was hanged from the yew in the churchyard. Has Neil discovered her body buried at the crossroads in an unhallowed grave? Why was she hanged? And why is she sharing her last resting place with a set of rare medieval statues?
It seems an unlikely coincidence – two women hanged from the same tree many centuries apart. Wesley is forced to consider the possibility that the killer also knows the tree’s history. Has Pauline Brent been “executed” rather than murdered? And if so, for what crime?
As Wesley tries to discover as much as he can about the victim, and the dark history of the village, the case becomes more intriguing. Pauline Brent appears to have been a woman with few friends, no relatives…and a past she has carefully tried to hide!