“When Adam and Eve were dispossess’d of the Garden hard by Heaven, They planted another one down in the West, ’twas Devon, ’twas Devon, glorious Devon.”
Sir Harold Boulton
The county of Devon is the charming background against which the novel play outs and is a worthy location for such a mystery.
It was purposefully chosen to fulfill this role as a personal and unashamed homage to this often neglected corner of England’s glorious south-west. Even today it is still not a common thing to hear a West Country accent given much prime time on the very PC BBC.
And so the novel has given Devon, the home of the Dumnonii, the ‘deep valley dwellers’, her long, well-overdue, protagonism since 1588. It has done this by indulging its love of the English countryside, and its particular Devonshire brand, and penned it in at every available opportunity.
This has also been employed in the vain hope that should this story make it beyond British shores that Devon might become a recognisable name among the occasional foreign visitor and that England may possess more than just London, Oxford, Cambridge and Stratford on its list of ‘the-only-things-to-see-in-England’.
The book then takes every opportunity to flatter the county that the Romans left alone, that the modern motorway has not yet ruined, where peace takes priority over ‘progress’ and where a polite pace of life still holds sway.