Who would believe that choral singing could prove such a deadly pastime? Virginia and Richard Grainger, new members of the Standchester Choral Society, are looking forward, nervously, to their first public performance with the choir, in a production of Berlioz's 'Romeo and Juliet'.
As the performance opens, though, tragedy strikes in the form of a very public death. While coping with the repercussions of this, Virginia also has to tussle with the personal problems of her next-door neighbour, Caroline.
As plans to re-schedule the concert are being made, another death occurs, and Virginia begins to realise that her own life may be in danger, as she feels the tangled web of deceit and malice tighten around her …
He was always doing this, but refused to admit it. ‘It’s about this drug ring, operating from a respectable modern housing estate. They get these kids from a local school involved, to work the playground. Only they’re not from the local school, they’ve left, got no jobs, no money. They just put on their old uniforms, and they’re in pocket. That’s the scene. The balloon goes up when one of the female members of staff is found by the headmaster, bludgeoned to death in the bicycle sheds. He’s a fitness fanatic, who runs ten times round the school first thing every morning, before getting behind his desk at sparrow-fart to steal a march on his paperwork.’
‘Richard, do you have to?’
‘This won’t take long, and you really must read this. It’s an absolute cracker.’
‘Alright, get it out of your system,’ she sighed, adding under her breath, ‘but there won’t be much point in my reading it, if you give the whole damned plot away in advance.’
Fortunately inattentive, her husband continued, ‘Well anyway, he becomes the main character, ferreting around and gathering information, and you think that he’ll do the detecting bit and unmask whoever it is who killed her. Then, one morning, in comes the school cleaner, and there he is – in the gym, his head sticking out of the side of one of those vaulting-box thingies, his neck crushed by the top half – stone cold dead. She takes over then.