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The villagers of Stoney Cross were bustling about like hyperactive ants. In gardens, houses, and the village hall, figures flitted to and fro making last- minute preparations for their 'Great Event'. After four months of furious debate and power-struggling organisation, the first Stoney Cross Arts Festival was to commence on Saturday 5th September and last for two whole days. Posters were everywhere, promoting this rare rural treat, but a last-minute suggestion to enlist the aid of a local radio broadcaster to advertise, then review their efforts, added an extra frisson of excitement. The delight of some of those involved, however, soon turned to dismay when the broadcaster, Marcus Willoughby, actually moved into a house in Stoney Cross the day before the Festival, turning out to be someone from their past: someone whom they had hoped never to clap eyes on again, and who had greeted them with recogntion in his eyes. To those he had never met before, he proved to be a smarmy, spiteful bigot who proceeded to take great delight in verbally shredding their artistic efforts. When he was found dead at his desk, only a week after moving into his new home, his demise actually having been broadcast during his pre-recorded programme on Radio Carsfold, there were no crocodile tears shed. He had finally been 'choked off' in mid-flow. His arrival in the village had obviously caused a few guilty hearts to beat faster, and precipitated a few hasty confessions of dark deeds thought buried in the past. Into this welter of emotions was dispatched DI Harry Falconer, his trusty (?) acting detective sergeant, 'Davey' Carmichael, riding shotgun, as they entered 'bandit' country once more.
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