IT is a wind-lashed wintry night in the Lake District and a gale is howling around an isolated country house hotel on the edge of Bessy Boot Hill. The perfect setting for an Agatha Christie whodunit perhaps? But no, Stone Cold Murder at the Mill at Sonning is far edgier than anything the Queen of Crime ever served up.
Written by James Cawood, this gripping and entertaining thriller directed by Sue Wilson twists and turns like a rollercoaster on speed.
It is hot on atmosphere: from the start, there is an undercurrent of foreboding. As the storm rages, a branch bangs ominously against the French doors, the phone rings but it is a silent caller.
Then, a shadowy balaclava’d figure flits past the window. What’s going on? And, guess what? I’m not going to tell you because to do so would spoil what is a flawless evening of escapist pleasure.
Suffice to say, it’s a very cunning plot involving a stolen diamond, an ex-boyfriend looking for revenge and lust for filthy lucre. It is thoroughly absorbing, keeping you guessing — and wrong-footed — throughout.