We're invited to a Cornish version of the Buckingham Palace garden parties: the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall instead of the Queen and Prince Philip and 800 guests instead of 4000. It takes place at Trewithen, one of Cornwall's most gorgeous gardens, a local silver band plays and pretty pavilion-like tents stand round the edge of the huge lawn. It would be perfection BUT - it's been raining for weeks, the ground is waterlogged or at least muddy and the forecast is dire. Frantic last minute changes: a different car park because the real one is liquid under foot; different clothes - lots of women have gum boots or trainers on their feet and huge wedding hats on their heads, the whole ensemble topped by enormous umbrellas, a sensible if not conventional look. When the royal party appear promptly on the dot, the Duchess and her lady-in-waiting are equally unpredictably dressed in buttoned-up Burberries.
This isn't as irrelevant to my books as you might be thinking, because it turns out that the Duchess of Cornwall is a voracious reader and loves crime fiction. She's gobbled up the Scandinavians, is enjoying the Germans and Spanish and Italians and we have a little moment about detection in Venice, Florence and Sicily before she moves on.
Royalty, crime stories, a silver band, tea and iced cakes and a lot of mud - it's an unlikely, even a surreal combination. Perhaps there's a plot in it.