Opera singers are often described as being larger than life, and certainly this is true of Gaylene Ffrench. Her appetites for men, for food, for attention are gargantuan, and her ability to irritate is similarly outsized. So when someone electrocutes the bombastic Australian contralto, few tears are shed at the Northern Opera Company. In fact, most of the company members are dancing a jig, and it falls on Superintendent Nichols to determine which of them might have helped Gaylene along to her just reward. With so many potential suspects, Nichols has his hands full.
Robert Barnard (1936-2013) was awarded the Malice Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Nero Wolfe Award, as well as the Agatha and Macavity awards. An eight-time Edgar nominee, he was a member of Britain's distinguished Detection Club, and, in May 2003, he received the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement in mystery writing. His most recent novel, Charitable Body, was published by Scribner in 2012.