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THE VILLAGE OF GREENINGS LIES ABOUT A MILE AND A HALF from the country town of Embank. Some day the town will swallow it up, with its picturesque old church set about with the graves of so many generations, its village street, its straggle of cottages, the Georgian Vicarage which replaced the one burned down in 1801, and its couple of small late eighteenth-century houses originally built for relatives of the Random family. But that day is not yet, because Halfpenny Lane, which connects it with Embank, does not really lead to anywhere in particular and is interrupted just beyond Greenings by a watersplash. The village is, in fact, extremely rural. A visiting artist once referred to it as "a haunt of ancient peace". But into the quietest backwater a stone may fall, disquieting ripples may spread. Sherlock Holmes has exposed the myth of country innocence. Greenings had had its share of happenings that would not bear the light of day. But things do not remain hidden for ever. A chance word, an unexpected move, the working out of an unseen plan, and the buried things are buried no longer. When Dr. Croft got a letter from Clarke Dean he had no idea that it would lead to anything of a disturbing nature.
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