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NO ONE could call the Vansteads a happy family. Templedean Place had become a house divided against itself. The gracious, well-bred serenity of a fast vanishing mode of life typified by its master, the invalid Sir Charles, and his daughter Judith clashed violently with the harsher and more realistic outlook on life which Judith's brother Gerald and his Australian wife brought from the prison camps of Malaya. It was not a question of who was right and who was wrong: it was just a question of fundamental incompatibility, aggravated by the knowledge that on Sir Charles's death Templedean and its rich farms would go to Gerald, and Judith would be tolerated where she had reigned, or banished entirely. It was an atmosphere to breed tragedy, and when Gerald and his wife are killed in a car accident, Chief Inspector Macdonald has the uneasy feeling that it could have been accident by design.
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