Mrs Bunz, a fanatical researcher into folk dance and customs, makes her way to the village of Mardian where she has heard that a particularly rich example of the Sword Dance is still enacted during the winter solstice. "Guiser" the village blacksmith and his five sons are the main participants but there are also roles for Sammy Begg, the owner of a run-down local garage and Ralph, son the of Rector and great nephew of Dame Alice, the village grandee.
When the performance ends in decapitation, Alleyn and Fox of the Yard are called in and a typical Golden Age detective story is launched.
This is a fun nostalgic wallow with lots of snow, rustic stereotypes and plenty of characters with a motive for doing away wtih the victim. Not Ngaio Marsh's best but far better than the dire WHEN IN ROME.