Shy mathematics teacher Calma Ferris has generously offered to fund her school’s play, a staff performance of The Mikado. As a reward, she’s chosen to play the part of the fearsome Katisha, despite being completely unsuited to the role. But she never makes it on stage. She misses her Act 1 cue, and a replacement is hastily found.
After the performance, Miss Ferris is found drowned in one of the school’s wash basins. The coroner returns a suicide verdict, but who would kill themselves by stopping up a drainpipe with modeller’s clay? But, conversely, who could possibly want to kill such an unassuming woman? The headmaster, unsatisfied with the verdict but fearing a scandal, calls in Mrs Bradley to investigate. But there’ll be two more drownings before she unmasks the culprit…
In brief: Well-observed and enjoyably waspish, with good pacing and strong clues. A relatively “normal” Mitchell mystery, and stronger for it. But be prepared for some outlandish character motivation in the final pages.
More detail, but no spoilers, below the cut.