It is the summer of 1728, and we are in the village of Sherburn, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, with its handsome church, boys’ grammar-school, ancient tavern and tranquil rural population. Below the church lies the site of the palace of the kings of Elmete. Nearby, across the common and past the woods, are the grand houses of commissioner of the peace Squire Hawley at Scarthingwell Hall and magistrate Sir Ralph Gascoigne at Parlington Hall. An apparent conspiracy to re-establish the sixth-century Ancient British kingdom of Elmete has worrying, and sometimes hilarious, consequences for the hapless vicar, whose meagre detective skills are stretched to their limit. Both the squire and Sir Ralph are only too happy to leave it all to the vicar – until, that is, the vicar is arrested for gun-smuggling and the squire disappears. It then transpires, however, that the conspiracy is merely camouflage for a more interesting crime altogether … This neat tale both faithfully recreates the atmosphere of an eighteenth-century Yorkshire village and offers the modern reader rare entertainment. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.