At first glance it appears that head of the magnificent Fenwold estate died as a result of a tree felling accident but one of the first persons on the scene (with some knowledge of tree felling technique) recognizes the "accident" as a put-up job and soon Ludovic Travers and John Franklin are covertly investigating the death of Cosmo Revere. Travers adopts the guise of a representative of the law firm which is to make preparations for the new heir while Franklin masquerades as Ludovic's personal servant which results in a two-tier investigation. Travers investigates the "upstairs" contingent of the Hall--Revere's niece and the habituès of the estate--while Franklin focuses his attention on the servants and residents of the village.
The focus of the detection is not so much "who done it" but rather "what are they up to" and while at first the set-up and the novelty of the complementary investigation (a refreshing change from the usual genius detective and his none-too-bright sidekick) holds one attention, I felt my interest wane with the slow pacing of the middle section. The novel does pick up in the last third with Travers and Franklin again acting in a complementary manner (with one discovering the identity of the murderer and the other the reason for the suspicious behaviour at the Hall) and one surprise revelation.
Best recommended for those readers who are willing to be patient with the slow progress of the novel although willing readers will find it a challenge to find an affordable copy. Scarce in the Doubleday printing and under the original British title of Murder at Fenwold.