The least successful of the Wimsey novels for me, this story has a general theme of how non-related events obscure the actual facts of the crime. The primary reasons this one doesn't work for me is that Wimsey spends way too much time not seeing the obvious, I generally didn't like the people involved, and there was a heap of unnecessary padding.Wimsey spends a lot of time carefully not thinking in this one. He focuses so much on whatever tiny detail he's investigating at the moment that he doesn't keep in mind the bigger picture. The failure to connect the complete obviousness of the beautiful bullied farmers wife and Gerald's mysterious absence was a major delaying factor. Then we have Gerald, the 'honourable' man having affairs. Not to mention the idiocy of Lady Mary (who makes herself sick rather than face a tough situation). And despite these two painful characters making me want to shoot them, we're then handed a bunch of 'straw socialists', whose naivety, stupidity and cowardice is a set-piece designed to make our two ridiculous aristocrats appear good by comparison.On top of this, long sequences - the description of all the pomp and ceremony required to try a Duke, and the entirety of the barrister, Sir Impey's, summing up (which merely repeats the obvious plot), and the same letter written out twice, once in French and then translated, are all so much unnecessary padding.This is one of those books which would put people off a series if they started with it.